BUSINESS

Imbalance in competitiveness

WEF report highlights barriers to improving business environment, notes high numbers of scientists, students By Dimitra Manifava

Greece has a surplus of scientists and students but a deficit in conditions that would facilitate entrepreneurship, such as healthy competition and access to funding, according to the latest report by the World Economic Forum on competitiveness in the European Union.

The WEF’s “Europe 2020 Competitiveness Report: Building a More Competitive Europe – 2014 Edition” ranks Greece 26th among 28 EU member states, only above Bulgaria and Romania in its biennial chart. The report examines the countries’ performance in seven domains.

Greece is last in terms of business environment, mostly due to the difficulty in accessing funding and the absence of competition. On the digital agenda it is 26th owing to low growth and the absence of a government strategy on information technology and communications. It ranks 25th for social inclusion due to the state’s inability to combat poverty, and 26th in the labor and employment market, explained by the high jobless rate among the young and women.

In terms of innovation Greece ranks 23rd, investing just 0.6 percent of its gross domestic product in research and development, while chart leaders Sweden and Finland invest 4 percent. Greece is 23rd also in education and training due to the low quality of its education system. Still, the country ranks second in the number of scientists and engineers and fifth in the number of people receiving a university education. It also finds itself in 21st position for environmental sustainability.

The report reveals a number of contradictory features in the progress of Greece’s implementation of the Europe 2020 agenda, which the WEF report monitors. Greece is above the EU average in the number of cell phone subscribers and the use of mobile Internet, but ranks second to last in terms of online transactions among corporations.

The WEF report highlights the two-speed Europe in that the Northern countries show a high level of competitiveness, unlike their Southern and Eastern European counterparts.

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