Sunday, March 6, 2011

Can small European countries like Greece and Ireland, become Europe’s Green Industries?

With the recent recession and crisis in the Euro-zone, the two hardest hit members that were forced to get a bail out from the IMF, Greece and Ireland, are pondering on solutions and reforms for their economies.

Apart the fact that they need to push for enough reforms that the IMF demands to secure the loan deal, they really must create a plan for the future, to make sure their economies are fully functioning. They would not like another similar crisis and I am sure none of their EU partners would either.

In both cases various opinions claim, that these countries should explore the Green technology, to heal and sustain their future economies. Tourism and Agriculture mixed with the property bubble economy of Ireland, obviously can not guarantee a stable economy.

One could really applaud such ideas and we should be looking forward to watch such developments happening, not just in Greece and Ireland but on a pan-European level. But what will the opinion of other EU states be, especially that of the “EU heavyweights” France, Germany and Britain?

Imagine if those two nations started producing green energy, or set up an industry for let's say green cars, how would Germany react to this? Before the Athens Olympic Games, we were presented on national television an electric car made by the Greek Automobile Industry (ELBO), in co-operation with other companies and funding by private investors.

It was meant to go on display during the Olympics, but we never heard of it ever again. Obviously it had to be subsided to go onto mass production, something that never happened. Could it be because there was no place for more competition in the European market, or perhaps the Greek Government did not consider developing these kind of products, to diversify the Greek economy with?

One could only imagine the Germans and the British, ever buying electric cars from the Greeks. So what kind of “green industry development” can these countries invest in, to reform their economies in the future?

Perhaps the plan is to work on producing green energy, exploiting the natural resources that we already have in Europe like the wind, sun, sea and its currents. Build an economy of producing and manufacturing the components needed to do this, like solar panel manufacturing.

But with all major manufacturing companies moving to China or elsewhere with cheaper work force, can any European country set up a new industry from scrap? It will be interesting to see how do they plan to diversify the Greek and Irish economy. How can small European countries compete with much larger, well established industries in bigger countries on this?

It sounds a perfect plan, and a long delayed one too. All European states should agree to create a united industrial reform, with commonly agreed policy to develop it. It is not realistic anymore to have few countries that hold the majority of the manufacturing industries in Europe, while their partners are left to make ends meet with not so stable or profitable industries like agriculture and tourism.

With a common market and one currency in our continent, if one economy fails, everybody is affected. Tourism is not a stable economy. It relies on the financial situation of the rich developed countries and their citizens. Agriculture on the other hand needs a lot of subsidizing to make it as profitable so it can sustain a whole economy.

It is time to create pan-European manufacturing industries, with many EU nations participating and hosting facilities for exploration, testing, and producing those new “green” goods. We should stop thinking on a national level and create a competitive new kind of Eco-friendly industrial revolution, on a pan-European level.

All EU states could be participating, creating jobs and opportunities for the citizens everywhere, securing jobs for Europeans, promote development and stability throughout the continent and eliminating inequalities. Ireland and Greece do not deserve to go from boom to bust, they deserve a stable economy. They should be treated as equal EU partners and be encouraged to invest in other types of economy.

It will not just benefit them, but the whole European region in the long term, to have them and all small EU member states, thriving and equally competitive as the larger ones.

It is little good to them if the production of the solar panels, for the proposed "HELIOS" program in Greece are made in Germany, and they are just placed on Greek soil? Shouldn't be Greece who manufactured the panels and create jobs, boost its exports and become a main exporter not just of "green" energy in the region, but also of the components that are required for its exploitation. 

If everything is manufactured elsewhere, then  there is little profit for Greece and no reforms in its economy will ever take place. Perhaps part of the solution is to also stop companies from moving to China, and redistribute them throughout Europe instead. Have all nations working together, while redesigning the type of energy, cars and lifestyle our future generations will have.