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Big ideas for growth and innovation
By: Ron Zink, Associate General Counsel
17 October 2011

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How can we make our economies succeed, provide jobs and build for the future?  These are the big questions on government leaders’ minds this year – not to mention those of business and of people everywhere.

The Polish presidency of the European Union has just put out an interesting report, ‘Toward a European Consensus on Growth’, that among other things focuses on the importance of education and training, innovation, and electronic commerce as important building blocks for a successful European economy.

This is music to my ears!  The kinds of programs and policies Microsoft has promoted for many years fully support what the Polish presidency is saying, for example:

  • Education and Training – promoting high quality mathematics and science education in schools and universities, and life-long learning in areas that are important in the labour market.  You can see on our website the many ways in which we support ‘digital skills’ education in these ways in order to promote sustainable growth and enhance workforce employability in Europe.

  • Innovation – focussing on important areas of technical expertise and research, and backing these up with suitable intellectual property protections and standards.  Microsoft has long promoted innovation, particularly through targeted support and centres of expertise for R&D in Europe.  Likewise, we recognise that intellectual property protections, such as a high-quality EU Patent, and publicly available standards that respect intellectual property, will be vital for paying for and disseminating European innovations in needed areas including ‘green’ technologies and healthcare.

  • The ‘e-Economy’ – promoting cross-border and electronic trading in European goods and services.  As we explained in detail in our response to the Commission’s e-Commerce Directive consultation, robust e-commerce helps Europe’s consumers and small as well as large companies, and helps to drive the EU’s growth and competitiveness overall.

It’s not just banking and fiscal policy that is going to improve the growth and job picture in Europe – this is also heavily dependent on a concrete vision for supporting the development of new technologies, new business opportunities and interesting jobs throughout the region.  I heartily commend the Polish presidency’s report along these lines to you.

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