New investment in new member states (anglický originál článku pro European Voice)
|The European Union has committed itself in its Lisbon Strategy to becoming the most competitive economy of the world by the 2010, aspiring to get ahead of United States and Japan. For the moment, no distinct progress has been achieved. According to experts, each member state has to cut down its generous social systems and at the same time improve the science and research investment. This year’s EU enlargement could be a new impulse to achieve these goals.
|[ 17. listopadu 2004 | Autor: Zuzana Roithová ]
The European Union has committed itself in its Lisbon Strategy to becoming the most competitive economy of the world by the 2010, aspiring to get ahead of United States and Japan.
For the moment, no distinct progress has been achieved. According to experts, each member state has to cut down its generous social systems and at the same time improve the science and research investment. This year’s EU enlargement could be a new impulse to achieve these goals. The number of citizens in the EU has increased by 20 per cent but the GDP has only increased by 5 per cent. On the other hand economic growth and labour productivity in the new member countries is more dynamic than in the old ones.
That is not enough. We have reserves in the area of small and medium business. Being a member of the European Parliament, I want among other things to advance greater support for education, science and research. In the Czech Republic we have to be concerned mainly for better cooperation between businessmen and scientists with the understanding and support of regional and local politicians. The economic development based on knowledge and not on cheap labour must become the priority of the Czech government. To support the spirit of creative enterprise is my goal. Among my priorities is also the support of regional development programmes that flow from solidarity between economically strong European regions and the more needy ones. They play an important role in the implementation of the Lisbon strategy.
In these days when investment in research and education are lagging behind the US and Japan and when the scientific findings are hardly applied or produced, it is more than desirable that the EU supports this target. What can the Czech Republic offer to the EU in this respect? The Czech state is aiming more and more in particular at “software investment”. That means we are trying to attract companies not only needing cheap labour – which will later move to economically less developed and therefore cheaper countries – but we are trying to create a stable atmosphere, quality infrastructure, qualified and educated employees and, last but not least, a higher quality of living. Prague – the capital of the Czech Republic – has already attracted some companies. The transfer of the DHL computer centre is one of the biggest investments of this kind. And why did the PSA group, IBM, Sun Microsystem or Dell do the same? The level of Czech education, including knowledge of languages, is very high. In 3,000 jobs created by foreign investors there is one third for university graduates and one third for those educated to high-school level. In addition, Prague is not only a very attractive historic city but also a very modern city. Its GDP per citizen is above the EU average. It is located in the centre of the enlarged Europe.
On a worldwide scale, the Czech Republic is the fourth most attractive country for offshore centres – behind India, China and Malaysia. And – as is the case also in Hungary – it is still increases its abilities from the industrial to the hi-tech level. That is very inviting for the multinational as well as for the minor enterprises – there are 15 computer companies from Israel which set up offshoots in the Czech Republic.
The Czech state is seeking to create a welcoming environment for sophisticated investors and to acquaint them with comparable but less known cities than Prague at the same time. There are universities and good infrastructure in Brno, Pilsen, Ostrava and other cities – that is what is making them more attractive to new investors.
Zuzana Roithova is a Czech member of the European People’s Party (EPP-ED) and vice-chair of the committee on the internal market and consumer protection.