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Unprecedented changes

The world has changed radically over

the last decade and new ways of doing

things are needed. As Albert Einstein said,

“We cannot solve today’s problems with

yesterday’s solutions.”

Europe is going through a fundamental

change, associated with the globalisation

of trade and information, the emergence of

new world power structures and unprece-

dented environmental challenges, notably

major climate change and a sharp decline

in biodiversity.

In March 2010, the European Commission

presented its new 10-year strategy for getting

the European economy back on track.

Entitled “Europe 2020”, its aim is to promote

“smart, sustainable and inclusive” growth.

Given the slump that now seems to be

gripping most of the continent, these

objectives appear extremely ambitious and

represent a formidable challenge:

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when entire sectors of the European

economy are devastated and when

many areas have lost all their economic

activities;

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when the transition to a green economy

and combating climate change receive

such little attention, and when biodiver-

sity is in serious decline;

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when unemployment is hitting more than

11% of Europe’s working population, and

more than 50% of under-25s in Spain

and more than 60% in Greece are out of

work. According to Eurostat figures for

2011, 27% of children under the age of

18 were exposed to the risk of poverty

or social exclusion, with the proportion

rising to 52% in Bulgaria, 49% in

Romania and even 38% in Ireland. In

2012, more than 114 million people (25%

of the EU population) were threatened by

poverty or social exclusion;

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when the expected growth is continually

postponed.

“I do not know if we will have ‘smart, sustainable and inclusive’

growth, but our common aspiration could be to build a ‘smart,

sustainable and inclusive’ European Union and of course,

because both are closely related, contribute to a ‘smart,

sustainable and inclusive’ world.”

Yves Champetier, AEIDL

Reinventing Europe through Local Initiative |

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