Studies point to new dynamics in the world economy with substantial consequences for the competitiveness of national economies. The theme of the information report is inspired by a recent study of the Boston Consulting Group. In analysing in-depth the cost-related aspects in manufacturing among a great many countries the study proves that traditional views about the relationship between the developed and underdeveloped/emerging economies is becoming obsolete. In all groupings there are frontrunners and slow developers. The future looks bright for a number of newcomers, while in certain countries of the Western world the situation is rather morose. This relates also to EU and eurozone countries. Expected spill-over effects and spontaneous convergence have not (yet) materialised. Cost advantages that were supposed to be the leading factor have either diminished or must be seen in correlation with a number of other factors of equal importance. Growth in productivity, availability of (low-cost) energy, more or less flexibility in the labour market, wages, changes in business environments (regulatory conditions/public-private, impact of regions, etc.), the degree of consensus in society and between social partners, education and emphasis on skills, re-evaluation (or not) of business models, openness to new technologies, the increasing interaction between services and manufacturing, are all factors that are determining the final outcome. Each national economy is characterised by a specific combination of these factors. And although the European economies have a great deal in common, there is equally a great variety within the same European framework. Dynamics in the world economy tend to put some countries under pressure, while others benefit from them.
The issues to be addressed in the information report:
• to earmark and analyse the dynamics that are at stake in the current economic processes
• position of European countries in the leading group and the relative position of Europe as a whole
• to earmark factors playing a supportive or an inhibiting role in Europe on our way to the future
• what is the effect of current dynamics on delocation or relocation of investments?
• which decisive conditions should be fulfilled to promote/maintain a steady European position in the world?
• in what way can EU industrial policy and shared competences between the EU and MS make a contribution?
• how can the benefits also bear fruit to countries under pressure?