A green and innovative recovery

(EurActiv, 14 Jul 2020) There’s no better way to express our commitment to the future of Europe than to invest in research and innovation, as it will help Europe develop the next generation of clean technologies and speed up its economic recovery. This is something EU leaders should keep in mind when they meet on Friday, writes Pascal Lamy.

Pascal Lamy is the president emeritus of the Jacques Delors Institute (JDI) and president of the Paris Peace Forum. He was the director-general of the World Trade Organisation from 2005 to  2013.

In the mid-1980s, I was serving as chief of cabinet of the then President of the European Commission Jacques Delors. At the time, we were building the foundations of what were to become the European Single Market and the euro.

However, when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, our priorities shifted dramatically. Led by Delors, the EU quickly pivoted to turn a once-in-a-generation moment into an opportunity to inspire and unite Europe.

I worked later as director-general at the World Trade Organization. My tenure there coincided with the 2008 financial crisis, which at the time was the global economy’s worst setback in decades.

Overnight, we went from focusing on organising an ever-more-connected global economy, to stemming alarmingly sharp drops in global trade as financial markets teetered on the brink of collapse and pushing back protectionist pulsions.

Neither example provides a perfect parallel to this unprecedented, knife-edge moment in our history.

Yet as we chart our European economic recovery from coronavirus and towards a greener future, both experiences help illustrate something I think is important to remember: It is impossible to predict the future, but we need to rise to meet every crisis with the resolve to recover better, to make our societies more resilient and more sustainable.

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EurActiv, 14 Jul 2020: A green and innovative recovery