Two former prime ministers call for more ambitious Europe

May 31, 2005

Brussels, 30 May 2005

To be successful, Europe must be more ambitious, according to the former prime ministers of Denmark and Sweden, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen and Carl Bildt respectively.

Speaking at a conference in Brussels on 26 May, Mr Rasmussen called on Europe to be more proud of the fact that it has the biggest economy in the world, and to act upon it, while Mr Bildt pleaded for increased European spending on research and innovation.

'Europe is not ambitious enough,' said Mr Bildt. 'Europe is in danger of being seriously squeezed between the innovation potential that exists in the American economy -- they are better than us on that -- and the production potential of the Asian economies.'

'In 1990, eight out of ten new drugs came from Europe. Now, we have eight out of ten new drugs coming out of the United States,' he added. 'I would bet that we will have more European investments in R&D [Research and Development] in pharmaceuticals going into San Diego than going to any place on the European continent.'

Mr Bildt went on to push European policymakers to 'spend more, dare more, do more' and appealed to the European Commission to lift the EU ban on pharmaceutical advertising as an incentive for pharmaceutical companies to keep their R&D facilities in Europe.

'I see the future of Europe as producing innovative service solutions to the global economy and innovative production solutions to service the global economy. That requires knowledge, research and development in far greater quantities and far greater commitment than we have so far.'

Poul Nyrup called for Europe to take more aggressive action on the global scene. 'Europe is now the biggest economy in the world, ten per cent bigger than the USA. They know it over there. They know it in the White House and in the Capitol. It is time for Europe to take a more proud and a more hard-oriented line.'

CORDIS RTD-NEWS / © European Communities
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