Friday 19 May 2017

Future-proof Denmark?

Our latest blog entry about the Nordic EU member state, Two freedoms of competitive Denmark, highlighted the relative absence of poisonous corruption and media repression.

Here we are going to take a look at what what it takes to shape a future-proof society.  

WEF Annual Meeting 2017

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) report from the Annual Meeting 2017, the gathering focused on five challenges: strengthening global collaboration, revitalising economic growth, reforming capitalism, preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and restoring a sense of shared identity.

Each theme is introduced in the report, against the background of remarkable retreats from globalisation and new protagonists of global cooperation, the framework for one humanity on our common planet.  

At a regional level, the European Union’s Europe 2020 strategy (EU2020) for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, the Political Guidelines of the Juncker Commission and the national reform programmes of the member states, such as Denmark’s NRP, contain many of the elements of the fourteen WEF System Initiatives.

WEF System Initiatives

However, if the EU and its members want to be at the cutting edge, they need to adapt to the emerging qualities the System Initiatives bring. The projects were introduced in the WEF meeting report and later briefly described (pages 41-42):

Leaders in Davos called for collaborative action to drive economic growth while safeguarding social inclusion. The 14 System Initiatives are the vehicles through which the Forum will respond to this call to action and drive change in the coming year. Two themes will be woven throughout the work of all of the systems. The first theme is responding to challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution through driving more accountable systems of control, mechanisms for policy development and space for public deliberation. The second is ensuring that the Forum’s work is complementary to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs), from mobilizing private capital, technology and know-how for inclusive and sustainable investments to the compelling economic case for business leadership and engagement. From increasing financial inclusion to defining the workforce of the future, from responding to epidemics to strengthening infrastructure, the System Initiatives will focus on driving lasting, systemic change through public-private cooperation.   

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) omnipresent, here are just the  headlines of the reform agenda projects to follow:

Shaping the Future of Consumption
Shaping the Future of Education, Gender and Work
Shaping the Future of Digital Economy and Society
Shaping the Future of Energy
Shaping the Future of Growth and Social Inclusion
Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security
Shaping the Future of Financial and Monetary Systems
Shaping the Future of Information and Entertainment
Shaping the Future of Mobility
Shaping the Future of Food Security and Agriculture
Shaping the Future of International Trade and Investment
Shaping the Future of Production
Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare
Shaping the Future of Long-Term Investing, Infrastructure and Development  

EU and Denmark?  

Here, I believe, the European Commission should go beyond drafting recommendation to the member states, by using the European Semester process in order to inspire cutting edge responses to global challenges.

Is Denmark future-proof? After European Semester reading, the National Reform Programme and international comparisons, I venture that Denmark has a sound base for reform policies. But I am less sure about the qualitative aspects: if the actions under way are radical or forceful enough to improve Denmark’s competitiveness.

Do we need to eat more of the pudding containing the proof?

Ralf Grahn

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