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VIth ASTANA ECONOMIC FORUM – May 22-24, 2013



astana economic forumOn May 22-24, 2013, Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan and located in the very heart of the Eurasian megacontinent, is hosting the VIth Astana Economic Forum.

Initiated back in 2008 by Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev, The Astana Economic Forum has become an outstanding annual event, and is now recognized as such among global leaders in economic thought and ideas. At the event, the most sophisticated intellectuals in the world come together to address issues of utmost importance and discuss possible solutions for present-day economic, financial and social challenges in the world.

The number of delegates poised to take part in the Forum for the upcoming year is expected to reach a record-high, topping 8,500 from 100 different countries. Leading speakers are to include current and former heads of state and governments, top executives of international corporations and associations, renowned economists and other experts including a number of Nobel laureates, and representatives of mass media from around the world.

The VIth Economic Forum is to focus on five aspects that set the trends in the current economic situation:

1. Commodity price settings and economic growth in 2013

2. Infrastructure, innovation and technology

3. Global competitiveness

4. Social development

5. Financial systems, Risks and Policy response

The Forum is also set to feature what has become known as “Dialogue of global leaders” – along with a number of individual interviews. Television debates are to become standard parts in the Forum for the following years.

As to date, 45 outstanding figureheads including Nobel laureates and upper-rank political leaders have already confirmed their commitment to take part in the Forum.

One of the Forum’s highlights is expected to be a World Anti-Crisis Conference, to be held in cooperation with the UN. A draft for a World Anti-Crisis Plan for the UN is set to be discussed, formulated and signed.

The Forum also intends to adopt an open letter to UN member states with recommendations for states’ contributions to improvement and further development of the world economy. The letter is also planned to be sent to the organising committees of the G8 and G20 summits, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the UN and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The recommendations are to be elaborated by leading experts in international economics, finance and communication through the virtual channel

The 2013 Forum is also to facilitate informal meetings and brainstorms. Parallel to the Forum, an exhibition on industry and innovation will give businesses the opportunity to present themselves to each other and to delegates and visitors. A number of memorandums and contracts involving private enterprise, state and supranational organisations is expected to be inked on the occasion.


EU Tech Alliance SecGen warns: We are moving away from a truly single market, the cornerstone of European competitiveness, if we have 27 national fragmentations of EU rules



© EU Tech Alliance

Interview conducted by Robert Lupițu

Europe’s tech companies need a single set of rules with one interpretation, not 27 national interpretations, and their voice to be taken into account at EU level, says Victoria de Posson, Secretary General of the European Tech Alliance, the umbrella organisation representing Europe’s leading tech companies providing innovative services to 500 million users. In an interview with CaleaEuropeană.ro in the context of the adoption of the manifesto on the future of Europe’s digital policy, Victoria de Posson says the tech industry wants to ensure that Europe becomes competitive by adopting a European strategy for tech companies, having a European approach and listening to the voice of the industry.

“European, national and regional measures should complement each other, not clash or duplicate efforts. (…) The ink was not even dry on the Digital Services Act (DSA) when some EU countries added extra layers of regulation at national level,” said the European Tech Alliance Secretary General.

Victoria de Posson warned that if “particular emphasis is not placed on avoiding national fragmentation where EU legislation exists”, then “we are moving further away from a truly single market, which is the cornerstone of European competitiveness”.

According to the industry, the European strategy for tech companies should unlock “the power of data as a key lever for innovation, while respecting consumer privacy”.

The EUTA Secretary General also insisted on smart regulation and fair competition.

“We need one set of rules with one interpretation, not 27 interpretations. Ultimately, we need to ensure that this interpretation takes place consistently. We need more cooperation between Member States,” said Victoria de Posson.

Full interview:

CaleaEuropeană.ro: First of all, Victoria de Posson, the Secretary General of the European Tech Alliance, thank you for this interview for Calea Europeană. We know that you published on the 27th of November a bold and forward-looking manifesto on EU digital future by 2030. According to the manifesto in terms of geopolitical and economic instability, you are saying that promoting homegrown tech businesses has never been more central and more important to achieve the European Union’s wider goals. First of all, what are the main key points of this manifesto? What drives it forward?

Victoria de Posson: The first point is to ensure that competitiveness is achieved in Europe. We keep talking about it. It’s now time to strengthen it, and each that competitiveness in Europe in the next five years. We suggested three approaches to reach this competitiveness.

First adopting a European strategy for Europeans tech companies.  For instance, we need to unlock the power of data to allow European tech companies to use data in a privacy friendly manner. Another example would be to help them attract talents like developers.

A second point is adopting a European lens. It comes through harmonization and adopting a European approach when looking at markets including for merger and acquisition.For instance, you can be a big player in Romania, but still a small one at European level. When authorities are looking at merger and acquisition, we invite them to take a European perspective.

A third point is to ensure that European tech companies’ voices are taken into consideration when EU rules impact them. For the moment, laws are often developed with a few stakeholders in mind and do not always consider their impact on European companies.It’s critical to  consult European companies more in the future.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: So the three points are strengthening Europe’s competitiveness with  a European strategy for European technology, prioritizing smart rules and a better enforcement of regulations in order to have fair competition.

Victoria de Posson: The three points that I mentioned were part of the competitiveness chapter: Develop a European strategy for European tech companies, adopt a European lens and bring in the voice of European tech companies.

The second chapter is on smart rules: We need to make sure that the rules are properly enforced, and that they have enough time to be enforced before being reviewed. When new rules are created, a good impact assessment is needed to make sure that they will fit with the existing legislative landscape. There cannot be overlaps or clashes with other rules. The new rules should be problem-based and adapted to the business models and not go for a one-size-fits-all approach.

The third chapter is about enforcement for fairer competition. EU rules should be enforced properly, and in a fair manner. For instance, national authorities should be as strict with their national champions as with international companies. Another point would be to have a consistent interpretation of EU rules. We need one set of rules with one interpretation, and not 27 interpretations. Lastly, it must be ensured that this interpretation happens consistently. We need more cooperation between the member states.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Since you mentioned the smart rules section, how do we define smart rules in this endeavor, because you also mentioned the overlapping of legislation? Do you feel, as an entity that represents digital players in Europe and tech players in Europe, that there is a clash between the idea of having smart rules and the overlapping of norms? And can you give us an example where the overlap affects your members?

Victoria de Posson: What we mean by giving time for enforcement, is to make sure that when the law is adopted, it has enough time to reach its objectives before it’s assessed. For instance, we see that the EU commission is now reviewing its consumer framework with the EU consumer law refit. The omnibus Directive is partially reviewed while it only started to apply in May 2022. In such a short timeframe, it will be difficult for the Omnibus Directive to reach its objectives. So before reviewing rules, we need to give the market time to produce the intended effects, especially when a few member states are late to implement the new law(s).

When it comes to making sure that the rules are properly assessed, we must make sure that we have a good mapping of what works, what doesn’t work and of potential overlapping rules. New rules need to be based on strong impact assessments which are evidence-based and representative of the whole European continent.

When it comes to avoiding overlapping rules: European, national, and regional measures should complement each other, not clash or duplicate efforts. The ink of the Digital Services Act (DSA) was not even dry when some EU countries added extra layers of regulation at national level, such as the French law for online influencers and the proposed bill to secure and regulate the digital space. There must be a strong focus on avoiding national fragmentation where EU laws exist. Otherwise, we are moving further away from a truly single market that is the cornerstone of European competitiveness.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: And how can the European Union balance on that because we know that we have this big idea over our head that we are the main regulator feel, we are the pioneers of inventing and creating norms to make it more easy but also more difficult at the same time. So how can we balance this?

Victoria de Posson: It’s very important to say that rules are not bad. We are proud of Europe’s ability to invent rules: Making sure that consumers are well protected, maintaining the rule of law, and having transparency laws. With size comes greater responsibility. Now, the challenge is to enforce the rules on every actor in the same manner. Whether a company is based in Europe or not, as long as it targets European consumers it has to comply with EU rules.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: Since you mentioned the competitiveness, I want to ask you two ideas that I noted. What are the key elements that should be included in this European strategy for taking competitiveness to address the needs in the private sector? This is the first question and the other one: what is the role that we envisage for the public private partnership should play in this European tech strategy?

Victoria de Posson: In the European strategy, we would, for instance, need to unlock the power of data as a key lever for innovation while respecting consumer privacy. Privacy enhancing technology, like pseudonymization should be further promoted by European lawmakers to empower European companies to use data in a privacy friendly manner. We need to make sure that EU companies can use data in a privacy friendly way, allowing them to grow and remain competitive.

Another example is to make sure that EU companies are still attractive. Today, European tech companies’ resources are taken by compliance. Sometimes, it is assumed that this compliance consists of a few lawyer, but actually compliance means several developers implementing the law, instead of improving interfaces, services, products or consumers’ experiences. For a developer, it’s not the most interesting task to do. It’s very important to ensure that developers are still willing to work for European tech companies.

To your second question about improving the public private partnerships: One way would be to involve companies in the early stages. When policymakers consider new initiatives, they must have a good understanding of what currently exists, of the good and the bad practices. Sometimes, laws are created against a certain company or against a certain practice. These practices are not always representative of what’s happening in the market. Policymakers should have a better understanding of what’s happening on the grounds and of the good practices that are in place. It would help them create better laws.

When the proposed EU rules at in the hands of co-legislators, we have seen new services being added in the scope with no impact assessment for these new services being added. For instance, the rules on distance marketing of financial services were aimed at financial services. However, the co-legislator extended the scope.

It would have been better to have a good impact assessment and understand the impact of such an extension before making it law.  When it comes to enforcement. We believe that lawmakers should have the right resources to understand how innovation and technology works.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: You touched some ideas on retaining talent. So, we need a European tech strategy. We also need digital skills. I’m also speaking for Romania which is a very good IT country. Looking at the DESI index, we have a lack of digital skills. We are winning on the rules field, but we are losing the battle for hearts, minds, and creativity with other global markets. So how should the European Union address all these challenges to retain talent, and also keep top tire professionals here in Europe within the technological sector?

Victoria de Posson: First, we should not have a limited reading of digital skills. It’s not only coding or about developers. It’s a lot bigger than that. We have to make sure that we attract all talents and all digital skills. Second, we could improve the visa policy to attract talents from abroad, making it easier for digital talents to access the Schengen area.

CaleaEuropeană.ro: And one last question. We understand that this manifesto is a part of an ongoing debate for the future of digital Europe by 2030 and there can be no good debate without the public sphere. So what are your expectations after this manifesto from the EU institutions, the Commission, the Parliament, the Council, considering also that 2024 will be an election year so we will have a lot of overlapping movements from this mandate to the next one.

Victoria de Posson: In terms of procedures, we know that the institutions are busy finalizing the files until February, more or less.

After February, as of March, they will be more focused on what’s upcoming. For instance, the upcoming Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU will reflect on how to improve the Commission’s operations.  It will be quite interesting to see what is coming out from the Belgian Presidency. Another aspect is what the services of the Commission are preparing for the next Commissioners.

And of course, from the Parliament side, the future members of the European Parliament are looking at what should be done and what could be improved over the next few years.

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European Tech Alliance presents its manifesto for Europe’s digital policy: We need an ambitious EU tech strategy to boost European competitiveness, based on smart rules and fairer competition



The European Technology Alliance (EUTA) presents today, 27 November, its bold, forward-looking manifesto, outlining a strategic roadmap for Europe’s digital policy from now to 2030. According to the manifesto, in times of geopolitical and economic instability, promoting home-grown tech businesses has never been more central to achieving the European Union’s wider goals. The recording of the launch event can be watched here.

EUTA represents leading European tech companies that provide innovative products and services to 500 million users. The 30 EUTA member companies in 14 European countries are popular and have earned the trust of consumers.

With the right conditions, EUTA members can strengthen Europe’s resilience and technological autonomy,protect and empower users online, and promote Europe’s values of transparency, rule of law and innovation to the rest of the world.

Through the manifesto “Unlock European tech leadership at home and beyond”, EUTA asks EU institutions to take into account three steps as we move towards 2030:

  • Develop a European strategy for European tech and competitiveness;
  •  Prioritise smart rules for a stronger Europe, including increased harmonisation to create
    one EU digital single market, not 27 national markets;
  •  Focus on better enforcement for fairer competition.

“We need an ambitious EU tech strategy to overcome growth obstacles, a political commitment to clear, targeted and risk-based rules, and consistent enforcement. The next Commission’s mandate, towards 2030, is the right moment to unlock Europe’s tech, fostering its leadership at home and beyond”, said EUTA Secretary General Victoria de Posson.

“We must navigate tech innovation and tech regulation wisely. This means consulting tech experts, assessing current rules, tailoring them for specific problems and business models and enforcing them with fairness”, said the Chair of the EUTA Board and Head of EU Public Affairs for Zalando, Aurélie Caulier.

EUTA President and Schibsted CEO Kristin Skogen Lund also said that “as companies born and bred in Europe, the EU is a crucial market and we are deeply committed to European citizens and values”.

In the manifesto, EUTA proposes three steps to enhance growth and innovation in Europe:

1. European tech for European competitivenes

A European strategy for tech: According to EUTA, it’s time for the EU to boost European tech with a strategy that empowers European digital companies to grow and use new innovation tools to deliver the best services and products, including personalised experiences to their users. European tech companies are valuable assets for Europe. They deserve support and nurturing.

Adopt an EU lens: Today, there is regulatory fragmentation. We still deal with 27 national markets in practice, including for market assessment in competition law. A European approach and more harmonisation would facilitate the growth of European champions at global, national and regional level.

Bring in European voices: EU tech should by default have a seat at the table when proposed rules, often designed for a few global players, disproportionately affect their ability to provide the best services, products, and experience to users.

2. Smart rules for a stronger Europe

EUTA asks the European Union to allow time for the implementation of the rules and then to evaluate them properly: The digital world is a fully regulated sector with a wide range of new and updated rules. The EU should allow for existing rules to take effect and make a thorough assessment of these rules, before introducing new regulations in the same areas, says the EUTA manifesto.

The European Technology Alliance also stresses that laws should fit together like puzzle pieces, not be “a messy patchwork”: European, national, and regional measures should complement each other, not clash or duplicate efforts. EU countries should not add extra rules on top of EU regulations. When developing new EU rules or reviewing existing ones, we should get rid of old laws to prevent an ever-growing pyramid of regulations.

In addition, EUTA calls for the EU to adopt a tailor-made, problem-based approach: According to the manifesto, Where EU rules are needed, policymakers should focus on concrete problems and be mindful of different tech business models. Rules should address problems with specific business models instead of a one-size-fits all approach or dictating specific product designs. Any proposed solution should also be proportionate to the problem identified.

3. Better enforcement for fairer competition

Ensure fair competition: European companies need a level playing field to grow and compete. For this, we need strong and consistentenforcement of recently adopted EU laws and a tough stance on any company, large or small, trying to circumvent EU rules, the manifesto says.

Same rules, same interpretation, and coherent enforcement: Fragmented interpretation causes legal uncertainty, competition distortions and 27 rules instead of one. According to EUTA, European businesses need a clear and predictable legal framework to grow, innovate and compete with global players coming from larger or more homogenous home markets.

EUTA also calls on the European Union to work together and not in “silos”, to encourage cooperation between national authorities (e.g. consumer, competition, data protection), as well as among Member States and with the EU to ensure consistent enforcement of rules. “Working in silos must be avoided, and best practices shared,” says EUTA.

In addition, EUTA advocates that the EU should provide authorities with the right resources: European and national authorities must invest the proper resources such as people, time, and technical expertise, for effective and pragmatic enforcement. Authorities should also consider working with external stakeholders such as businesses, to be aware of the latest innovative products (e.g. regulatory sandboxes).

At the end of the manifesto, EUTA wants to ensure an independent enforcement: “Now that the Commission takes on the role of rule enforcer, it’s of paramount importance to place a strong focus on independence. Enforcement must be kept separate from political interests”, stresses the European Technology Alliance.

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EPP MEP Pernille Weiss highlights Romania’s potential to attract investment in pharmaceuticals by creating a favourable environment for innovators and SMEs



© European Union 2019 - Source : EP

In an intervention at the recent ARPIM event, “The health of Romanians between hopes, challenges, investments, and innovation: a European vision,” Danish Member of the European Parliament (MEP, EPP) Pernille Weiss, who serves as the rapporteur for the Pharmaceutical Directive, addressed the crucial role of the ”Pharma” package in shaping the future of pharmaceutical innovation in the European Union (EU).

Weiss emphasized the significance of the Pharmaceutical Directive within the broader ”Pharma” package, underscoring the need for a common shared language and toolbox to navigate the legislative landscape effectively. She articulated the anticipation within the European Parliament and numerous member states for the European Commission’s proposal, expressing hope that it would propel the EU toward becoming a ”global hub for pharmaceutical innovation”.

As the rapporteur for the Pharma Directive, Weiss outlined her vision for the legislation, placing a strong emphasis on promoting innovation while ensuring patient access to medicines. Drawing on her background as a nurse and a lineage of healthcare professionals, Weiss envisioned the European Union as a community of lawmakers, healthcare systems, universities, and education institutions working together to make the EU ”the most attractive place on earth for not only pharma industries, an important part of our industries but also the adjacent industries that as a total system can be labeled as the life science industries”.

Weiss highlighted the two central components of the ”Pharma package”—the directive and the regulation. She emphasized the lengthy wait for the Commission’s proposal and the collective aspiration for it to enhance the EU’s ability to foster pharmaceutical innovation, provide access to medicines, and strike a balance between affordability and rewarding innovation.

The MEP expressed her hope of making the EU the first choice for the pharmaceutical sector in terms of production, research and development facilities, and collaboration opportunities. Weiss acknowledged the pivotal role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as ”the backbone of innovation” in Europe’s pharmaceutical landscape and stressed the importance of legislation tailored to accommodate their unique needs.

Weiss proposed a nuanced approach to data protection, advocating for predictability, fairness, and alignment with global standards. She challenged the Commission’s concept of tying data protection to product launches in individual member states, emphasizing the need for a more comprehensive and fair negotiation position.

In particular, Weiss highlighted the potential for countries like Romania to attract pharmaceutical investments by creating a conducive environment for SMEs. She called for a streamlined process for innovators and entrepreneurs, ensuring that directives and regulations support their efforts and contribute to a faster, more efficient pathway for market authorization and pricing agreements. In this sense, the Danis MEP proposed an application model for pricing and reimbursement in member states expressing interest in specific medicines. This, she argued, would facilitate faster access for citizens and incentivize innovative companies, especially SMEs, to invest in countries like Romania.

As the European Parliament moves towards interinstitutional negotiations with the Council, Weiss expressed her hope for an agreement before the European elections in June next year. She concluded by emphasizing the need for a legislative package that not only meets high expectations but also reflects the true interconnections between the diverse elements of pharmaceutical innovation. Her proposed legislative adjustments aim to ensure that Europe remains a global leader in pharmaceutical innovation, delivering timely and affordable solutions to citizens across member states, regardless of their size or economic status.

Pernille Weiss MEP (since 2019) is a politician from the Conservative People’s Party of Denmark. Hereby she is a Member of the Group of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament (EPP Group).

Ms Weiss is a Member of the Committee on Industry, Research & Energy Committee and of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety. She is also a Substitute Member of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.

Prior to being an MEP, Ms Weiss served eight years as a County Council Member. She holds several degrees: she is a nurse (RN), has a Master’s of Science (health), is a certified sexologist and holds a Master’s Degree in Innovation and Leadership (LAICS). She is an acknowledged Nordic expert in architecture and health. Ms Weiss has been a Board Member of SME Europe 2019.

She was Head Manager in the public healthcare sector and the building consultancy industry before establishing her own consultancy firm in 2008.


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