Rebuilding the EU post COVID19

The European Union is one of the strongest joint economic and political ventures of modern times and has dealt with several political challenges throughout the past years. The economy and the freedom of movement came to a halt due to COVID19 and required new approaches to keep the EU and its citizens safe. However, times of crisis have shown to be a boost for innovation and technology. So, what will the EU learn from the crisis and how can the EU be rebuild after Covid19?

This will be discussed by politicians, business leaders and scientists at the European Union Week from May 10 – 12, 2021, hosted by the TUM School of Management and HEC Paris and jointly organized with their student debating societies TUM Speakers Series and HEC Débats. Guests include former EU Commission President Romano Prodi, Siemens CTO Dr. Peter Körte, judge at the European Court of Justice Ulf Öberg and many more.

“The European Union Week is now more important than ever. It is true that the EU failed to deal effectively with the Covid-19 pandemic. But it is important to understand why: As the historian van Middelaar put it, the Union needs to move from regulation-based politics – which have served it well for decades – to politics that can react quickly to new events. I am confident that the European Union will learn the lesson. And what choice do we have? No European country alone can face the challenges of a globalized world, can stand up to China or the US. The European Union can”, says Professor Joachim Henkel, professor at the TUM School of Management and initiator of the European Union week. Besides taking a closer look at the effects and learnings of the pandemic and the geopolitical role of the EU, the European Union Week will highlight the topics innovation and entrepreneurial capability.

The entrepreneurial ecosystems in Europe have become very vibrant over the past few years, especially in Germany and France. It’s a major boost for young entrepreneurs when launching their projects as they can now get numerous occasions to talk and get advice. “Entrepreneurs and startups are very friendly and you can learn so much from them! Plus funding, both public and private, is currently quite abundant for serious projects, notably in the deeptech sector, and this is something that the Covid crisis has fortunately not altered for now”, says Jean-Michel Dalle, the Managing Director of Agoranov, a leading science-based incubator in France, and a Professor at University Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC). He will speak on “How to build powerful EU start-ups” on Tuesday morning at 10-11 am together with Professor Helmut Schönenberger, co-founder and CEO of UnternehmerTUM, the Center for Innovation and Business Creation at Technische Universität München (TUM). “Entrepreneurs in Europe have access to a large number of resources, especially talents, technology, capital and customers. Universities and their entrepreneurship centers provide a great source for co-founders, startup know-how as well as technical tools and infrastructure. Europe is also home of numerous successful venture capital companies like atomico, Lakestar and UVC. Startup should also have in mind to leverage the enormous base of European mid-size and large companies which serve as customers, partners and strategic investors,” Schönenberger explains.

Innovation is one of the main drivers of economic growth. Therefore, the EU is increasingly trying to promote innovation through legal instruments. Just recently the Commission published the proposal for the Artificial Intelligence Act three, which would impose bans on AI with unacceptable risks and strict obligations on high-risk AI systems. But are the bans helping create technology with purpose or do they inhibit growth in the EU? Dr. Peter Körte, CTO of Siemens, says: “In the upcoming decisions we have to strike a careful balance between regulations that strengthen trust and acceptance in technology while leaving room for exploration and innovation at the same time. Generally, I do welcome the AI Act with its clear differentiation between risk categories, its intention to foster and strengthen innovative AI approaches, and to use regulatory sandboxes. Many companies are reluctant to use data in AI applications because they fear legal uncertainties, especially regarding the anonymization or pseudonymization of data – we have to abolish these uncertainties and keep the number of additional requirements and procedures (for example regarding conformity assessment procedures), as small as possible.” Dr. Körte speaks on technology with purpose on Tuesday May 11th, 3 – 4 pm.

The EU Week also is a platform for students to present their new ideas. Therefore, the RED-Team is invited to discuss their important project on digital literacy and the responsible handling of digital media, which takes place on Tuesday, May 11th, at 4:30- 5:30 pm. Additionally, several networking sessions are offered, where attendees will get the chance to engage in discussions with other participants and students from the TUM and HEC. The online event is held in English. Join us now.


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