IDEC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra Celebrates Its Annual Dinner

The IDEC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra annual dinner was held on 30 November, with the members of the Board, of the Curricular Advisory Council, as well as supporting companies and contributors attending. Mr. José Viñals, Vice Director of the Bank of Spain was invited to speak at the dinner, which was hosted by the rector of the Pompeu Fabra University and president of IDEC, Dr. Josep Joan Moreso. The dinner was held, as is the custom, at the IDEC campus in Barcelona.

In his remarks, Mr. Viñals commented on Spain \'s process of modernization within the European context, which can be assessed both positively and negatively. Europe is growing at a rate of 2.5% and inflation is under control, despite current energy prices, due, primarily, to favourable financial conditions and an important level of international trade, a situation that favours global stability. However, from a different point of view, this growth is well below that enjoyed by other countries, such as China or the United States . Europe suffers from an endemic structural growth problem, which goes beyond economic factors and includes its social and political spheres. This problem calls into question Europe \'s ability to adapt to globalisation. There are several theories that attempt to explain this situation ?such as low demographic rates, the preference by Europeans to devote more time to leisure activities or excessively restrictive monetary policies. None of these elements, per se, justifies the lack of growth. The key can be found in low job generation rates and low productivity. The growing productivity gap vis-à-vis the United States is not due to technological revolution, whose speed has been similar worldwide, but to non-technological industries. European companies and, above of all, those in the service sectors, have not taken advantage of technology to alter their procedures and processes. Finally, lack of adaptation is due to an absence of incentives for companies to innovate.

The same conclusions are applicable to Spain . Europe must have a reform agenda, no matter how hard the implementation of those reforms may be. Otherwise, the success of the EU enlargement is at risk and the welfare state becomes questionable. Prospects for the future do exist, but unless the costs of not acting are understood, Europe may not have a role to play in the new world scene.