This article was translated by John R. Bopp
Rick Noack is a journalist who writes about international topics for the Washington Post. A few days ago, he published an article in the “WorldViews” section of this newspaper trying to explain, with a series of graphics and comments, the evolution of “industrial innovation” within the European Union, based on European Commission reports.
We’ve been following these reports with interest for some time. We’ve written blog entries explaining our opinion that we needed to “light a fire” to become one of the leading Euro-regions in this field. The articles where we’ve spoken about this more directly are the following:
- Innovation: Are the Basques settling for being runners-up?
- Stepping back for some perspective: the situation of the Basques, Europe, and the US.
- A respectful piece of advice for the President of the Umbria Region: talk about what you know.
In the Washington Post article, there is an analysis of this evolution in the last eight years, based on a report published by the European Commission in 2016 (which can be consulted here).
In this medium-term analysis, special attention is drawn to the loss of importance of the Navarrese Foral Community, which, to avoid any biased conclusions, started in the 2012-2014 period. A similar thing happened in that timeframe with innovation in the Basque Autonomous Community (BAC), despite its managing to stay in the group of strongly innovative (which is not the highest ranking).
There are no individual data for the Northern Basque Country as it seems to be included in Aquitaine, but there also seems to be a slow-down in that region which, like in the case of the BAC, doesn’t make it drop from the second-best grouping in innovation. It’s still very worrying to see the global decline in this field throughout the European Union, including key regions like the north of Italy, the south of Germany, or the industrial hearts of Europe.
Also of note is the relationship the author draws in the article between “separatism” and innovation, referring to two cases with very different circumstance: Bavaria and the Basque Country. Anyone who’d read his opinion piece without knowing the historical realities of the Basques would draw the (erroneous but still well-fed by certain political and economic actors within the Kingdom of Spain) conclusion that this Basque desire for sovereignty stems from a “selfish and monetarist” position, without taking into account the almost two centuries of Basque society’s commitment to defending its sovereignty, born in a time when the Basques on the whole were much less “rich”. And that doesn’t even begin to cover the mistake of thinking this one issue is the spirit of self-government defended in the BAC.
In any case, and once again, it’s interested to get an overview that helps us know where we are and how far we’ve come, especially so that our institutional, economic, and social leaders don’t let up on the intensity of the Basques’ desire in this fundamental topic for our future.
The article also includes a map that offers a vision of the weight of the people with university studies in each of the Euro-regions analyzed. There we Basques are in the lead, with at least a 120% lead over the European average.
Washington Post – 1/8/2016 – USA
Where Europe is most and least innovative, in 6 maps
Europe has long secretly admired Silicon Valley. So when a local European politician wants to emphasize how innovative his region really is, it is common to somehow relate it to the Valley. One example is “Silicon Saxony,” in eastern Germany, with the regional capital Dresden. It’s far from being the only European region dreaming of California, though. When a large German company opened its new headquarters in Munich earlier this year, many felt obliged to applaud the “Silicon Valley spirit” one could allegedly feel. What was so remarkable about it?