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Re: Europe's future – eu/acc

This article is in response to the eu/acc idea, especially Andreas Klinger’s blog post 🇪🇺 Dear Europe, please wake up – eu/acc.

Here’s a brief summary of his article (by Claude 3 and Raycast):

Europe Needs to Standardize and Simplify to Compete Globally#

He argues that Europe is falling behind other regions like the US and India due to excessive friction and complexity within the European market. He believes the key issues are the lack of a unified legal entity standard and the insufficient focus on teaching English across Europe.

Key Takeaways#
  • Europe needs an “EU Inc” – a standardized legal entity framework similar to the US’s Delaware corporation, to simplify cross-border investing and business operations.
  • English should be taught starting from the earliest school classes across Europe to enable better communication and collaboration within the European market.
  • Standardization and simplification are more important than big, ambitious goals around innovation or regulation. Removing friction will naturally enable Europe to compete globally.
  • The author is optimistic about Europe’s potential, but believes pragmatic, actionable changes are needed to unlock it.

Financial Times graphic of GPD growth

European Accelerationism#

The whole eu/acc idea (see [1], [2]) builds on the idea of effective accelerationism (see [1], [2]) which uses a ‘pro-technology’ (and kind of ‘pro-capitalistic’) approach to solve current problems.

The focus on the European progress is triggered by relatively low growth rates compared to other regions, especially the US and Asia (as shown by the Financial Times visualization from November 2023).

I’ll keep it short, but I have three thoughts about this topic:

1. Foundations#

I agree with Andreas that we need lower entry barriers for startups and businesses in Europe. Working cross-border in the EU is still a huge pain - both for businesses and individuals. We need to build the legislative foundations to make this easier and more uniform across the EU.

Working this out will also show how much each nation actually stands behind the European idea, or whether it’s great for speeches, but let me collect my very own taxes, please.

2. Vision & Sustainability#

One of the key arguments in the past for the EU was peace and stability. Peace was and with the recent events in Ukraine, still is a huge topic.

But looking towards the future, I personally don’t see or understand the EU’s vision. Being not too focussed on concepts like the American Dream, Europe definitely is in a unique position to think slightly differently and imagine a future that is not just about growth and GDP. Like, do we really need another unicorn company that drop-ships e-waste to the West - even if it is developped in Europe?

What if the EU became the union that represents the state-form of the "we’re in business to save our home planet" slogan from Patagonia?

We already have probably the best health care, social security, and other systems in the world. What are the last few steps to make it both sustainable and future-proof?

Even though we’re always talking about globalization, stuff like being sovereign and self-sufficient in food, energy, and other resources is still a huge topic for this.

3. Branding#

Nationalism isn’t always used for good, but if you go to the US, chances are you can’t walk far without seeing a flag. They’re proud of their country, and they show it. I have never liked the German flag, and I’d never buy one (partly also because it is aesthetically a terrible choice of colors…). And within my generation, I certainly am not alone. Well, except when “we” are playing the World Cup, and suddenly everyone has one…

I guess most of us are rather proud to be European than <insert country here>.

If we completed the first two steps of building the foundations and having a unified vision, we can also use that to build a strong brand on top of it.

Not one that is littered with international stereotypes of not working enough, only drinking beer or wine, and eating baguettes or sausages. But one that is about sustainability, innovation, and quality of life.

Btw, if you wanna have a laugh, go to the “Interinstitutional Style Guide” of Europe and tell me that this website isn’t actually from the 90s???

So far so good. The big issue is that these problems are unlikely to be solved by a single entity. Neither top-down nor bottom-up. In the end likely everyone has to be on board and participate.