Many Europeans look at globalization and throw up their hands in frustration: the challenge of competitiveness seems so great. But Europeans have an advantage in today’s global competition, for which we should thank Jean Monnet and Jacques Delors, who created the Single Market before globalization was a buzzword. For it is open competition within the Single Market that enables Europeans to compete globally.
But this alone will not suffice. More daring policies are needed.
In 1991, my country, Estonia, was emerging from 50 years of Soviet-imposed backwardness. I despaired over how long it would take to build the infrastructure needed for Estonian businesses to compete internationally. Fortunately, the world was just then entering the new era of the information revolution, so by opting for the new infrastructure of information technology, Estonia was soon able to play on a level playing field.
Investment by both the public and private sector permitted Estonia to reach by the mid-1990’s a level of IT that was above the EU average. By 2000, Estonia’s IT development in government services and sectors like banking had reached a level attained by only a few other countries in Europe.