Just back from a week in Beijing and Moscow, it’s not bad to spend a day and a half in the beginning of this week in Stockholm.
But then I’m off to Athens to deliver a speech on innovation and change in the European economy. For some reason people often ask me to come and deliver a somewhat more upbeat message on the prospects for the European economy.
I’ll do my best. Certainly there is a pick-up in the economy at the moment. The eurozone might well grow by more than 2 % next year. But in terms of R & D spending there is no going around the fact that trends are not going in the right direction.
Then I’m back in Stockholm Thursday for a regular meeting of the Nordic Venture Forum. That’s the thirteen or so leading venture capitals firms in the high-tech area in the Nordic region coming together to exchange experiences and to discuss where the markets are heading.
It’s normally highly enjoyable meetings. And useful.
On Friday it’s off early to Brussels for a series of Bosna- and Balkans-related meetings.
First there is a conference at the European Policy Center where we will discuss the lessons to be drawn from the war in Bosnia and how it was ended in 1995. I think it will be highly interesting.
First Javier Solana will speak. In the critical autumn of 1995 he was Foreign Minister of Spain and in that capacity the Presidency of the European Union. He was highly involved in the events of those important months.
Then there is David Owen, Rupert Smith and myself.
David Owen was of course the EU Balkan negotiator from the summer of 1992 until he was replaced by me in the late spring of 1995. His is the story of the constantly undermined efforts to end the war in Bosnia. He is a man worth listening to.
Rupert Smith was the commander of the UN forces in Bosnia during 1995 and later went on to become, among others things, Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe in NATO, i e the highest European military position in NATO. He’s a superb military man with a most interesting story to tell.
And then myself.
There will also be – on a somewhat separate track – the present Prime Minister of Bosnia Terzic to discuss the future of the country.
From there I go directly to speak to an internal meeting with the European Commission on its future policies versus the Balkan countries.
And on Saturday it is back to Stockholm again.