Pioneering policy leadership in a transformative era

With the European Parliament and U.S. elections looming, Europe is facing policy uncertainties on both sides of the Atlantic. Persistent geopolitical turmoil in Ukraine and the Middle East, and threats to democracy — coupled with concerns over slow economic recovery, demographic shifts, climate hazards and the rapid evolution of powerful AI — all add to the complex global political and economic landscape. Europe’s present and future demands leaders who are capable of effectively navigating multifaceted challenges.

At the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, we are committed to developing a groundbreaking executive program that prepares professionals for multilevel policymaking of the 21st century. Our new EUI Global Executive Master (GEM) aims to transform policy professionals into agents of change and enhance their skills as effective managers and leaders who inspire and drive sustainable change.

Listening and responding to the needs of policy professionals is at the core of our new program.

New leaders wanted

George Papaconstantinou is dean of executive education of the European University Institute, and a former Minister of Finance and Minister of Environment and Energy of Greece. | via European University Institute

Just as public policy has changed in the past 20 years, so has executive education for public policy professionals. Listening and responding to the needs of policy professionals is at the core of our new program. The new GEM takes our commitment to training professionals to respond to today’s cross-border issues to the next level; it stands out from other executive master programs through its dedication to providing a personalized career development journey.

Launching in September 2024, the GEM has a two-year, part-time format, with three week-long study periods in Florence, and two additional visits to global policy hubs. This format, combined with online modules, allows policy professionals to integrate full-time work commitments with professional growth and peer exchange, building their knowledge, skills, and networks in a structured way.

This allows policy professionals to integrate full-time work commitments with professional growth and peer exchange.

During the first year, EUI GEM participants take four core modules that will set the basis for a comprehensive understanding of the complex task of policymaking, and its interaction with government, the economy and global trends. In the second year, they have the possibility to select courses in one or more of four specializations: energy and climate; economy and finance; tech and governance; and geopolitics and security.

These core and elective courses are complemented by intensive professional development modules and workshops aimed at enhancing skills in the critical areas of change management, project management, strategic foresight, leadership, negotiations, policy communications, and media relations.

Through the final capstone project, EUI GEM participants will address real policy challenges faced by organizations, including their own, proposing solutions based on original research under the guidance of both the organizations concerned and EUI faculty.

In addition, the program includes thematic executive study visits for in-depth insights and first-hand practical experience.

In addition, the program includes thematic executive study visits for in-depth insights and first-hand practical experience. Participants attend the EUI State of the Union Conference in Florence, a flagship event that brings together global leaders to reflect on the most pressing issues of the European agenda. They explore the role of strategic foresight in EU institutions’ policy planning through an executive study visit to Brussels, complemented by dedicated training sessions and networking opportunities. A final Global Challenge study visit aims to encourage participants to engage with local policy stakeholders.

Bridging academia and practice

Since its inaugural executive training course in 2004, the EUI has successfully trained over 23,000 professionals of approximately 160 nationalities, in almost 600 courses. The EUI GEM leverages this expertise by merging the academic and practical policy expertise from our Florence School of Transnational Governance and the Robert Schuman Centre, as well as the academic excellence in the EUI departments.

The EUI GEM’s aspiration to bridge the gap between academia and practice is also reflected in the faculty line-up, featuring leading academics, private-sector experts, and policymakers who bring invaluable expertise into a peer-learning environment that fosters both learning and exchange with policy professionals.

Effective, agile and inclusive governance involves interaction and mutual learning between the public sector, the private sector and civil society actors, all acting as change agents. That is why our program is designed to bring innovative perspectives on public policy from all three: the public and the private sector, as well as civil society, and we welcome applications from all three sectors. 

An inspiring environment

EUI GEM participants spend 25 days in residence at the magnificent Palazzo Buontalenti, headquarters of our Florence School of Transnational Governance. The former Medici palace harbors art-historical treasures in the heart of Florence. In September 2024, a dedicated executive education center will be inaugurated at Palazzo Buontalenti, coinciding with the arrival of the participants of the first GEM cohort.

The GEM is poised to redefine the standards for executive education and empower a new generation of policy practitioners. We are ambitious and bold, and trust that our first cohort will be, too. After all, they are the first to embark on this adventure of a new program. We can’t wait to welcome them here in Florence, where the journey to shape the future begins. Will you join us?

Learn more about the EUI Global Executive Master.

The EUI Global Executive Master | via European University Institute

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#Pioneering #policy #leadership #transformative #era

Atopic dermatitis: Timely access is needed now

Moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD) is not just an itch and may not just go away on its own.

It is neither a small rash nor just some dry skin, and it doesn’t only impact children.

The fact of the matter is that one in three pediatric AD patients have moderate-to-severe disease. Not all will outgrow their AD; those that don’t face a lifetime of disruptive symptoms. A lifetime of intense itching, redness, inflammation and discomfort can have a profound impact on an individual’s physical and emotional well-being.

Misunderstandings about the complex nature of the condition means that AD is often managed with less-than-optimal outcomes. However, too many people require more than just topical and anti-inflammatory treatment. In fact, millions who live with moderate-to-severe AD without the necessary treatment experience lifelong implications, impacting life events such as education, career, marriage and personal family decisions.

Furthermore, AD has implications beyond the individuals living with it. Being a caregiver for someone living with AD can have substantial mental, physical and financial consequences. For example, research has shown that parents can spend approximately 22 hours a week applying any treatment they can find for their children – including moisturizers, wet wraps or bleach baths – to alleviate painful, chronic, debilitating flare-ups of inflamed, raw and bleeding skin.

Ensuring children with AD and their caregivers have appropriate access to effective treatment can be vital to address the frustrating, inefficient and recurring cycle of time-consuming visits to general practitioners.

Ensuring children with AD and their caregivers have appropriate access to effective treatment can be vital to address the frustrating, inefficient and recurring cycle of time-consuming visits to general practitioners to try and manage symptoms and stop chronic flare-ups. Importantly, this approach would not only improve health outcomes, but it could also positively impact AD patients and their families.

Impact of AD is beyond the visible and the individual

While it is easy to think of AD as a skin disease, the lifetime impact of the condition on a person is more than what people see.

While it is easy to think of AD as a skin disease, the lifetime impact of the condition on a person is more than what people see.

For instance, missing school and social activities can become a normal occurrence for children with severe AD. Their daily routine is frequently overshadowed by appointments, treatments and flare-ups, as well as the emotional burden of shame and low self-confidence about their physical appearance. This burden results in some children struggling to keep up with their peers, which has a bearing on their quality of life and their educational and social development. A study has shown that 12.5% of children under three who have severe AD experience developmental delays in motor skills, communication, relationships and play.

An often-overlooked aspect of living with AD is that the condition can lead to significant sleep disturbances, often caused by persistent itching.

“Sleep is a huge factor that’s affected by AD and lack of sleep affects every aspect of your life. It doesn’t allow you to concentrate in school if you’re sleep deprived [and] you’re definitely more moody,” explained Dr. Patrick Finklea, a pediatrician and parent of a child living with AD.

As children get older, AD-associated issues broaden the gap with their peers, leading to increased social difficulties, isolation and a significant mental health impact. According to a survey from the National Eczema Association, 20% of parents say that their child is bullied at school because of their eczema (including AD, the most common form of the condition) and 75% highlight that their child experienced lower self-esteem as a result.

In addition to the physical and emotional strain on caregivers, the financial burden of attempting to alleviate a child’s chronic symptoms, arising from lifestyle adjustments, lost wages and out-of-pocket costs, are substantial. Caregivers may also have to consider a career change or give up work altogether due to the demands of looking after someone with AD.

Act now to ensure a brighter future

It is vital to stop thinking about AD as a childhood issue – one that will be outgrown. Instead, it needs to be prioritized as a serious lifelong condition and recognized as a chronic and debilitating disease with lasting and profound impacts.

It is vital to stop thinking about AD as a childhood issue – one that will be outgrown. Instead, it needs to be prioritized as a serious lifelong condition and recognized as a chronic and debilitating disease with lasting and profound impacts; a disease that not only affects the individual but also the social ecosystem.

In Europe alone, the total direct cost to society associated with moderate-to-severe AD is estimated at €30B annually.

Given the substantial individual and societal costs of AD, decision-makers need to urgently implement an effective response to meet the needs of patients. In Europe alone, the total direct cost to society associated with moderate-to-severe AD is estimated at €30B annually. Therefore, prioritizing investment in early and effective AD interventions – including timely access to specialists and effective treatments – can have significant impacts on the overall cost and outcomes of disease management.

As MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP, Finland) said at a POLITICO Spotlight debate last year, “Countries always reimburse the cheapest drug on the market, then the next cheapest, then the next one. This ladder approach is wasting money and enabling the condition of the patient to deteriorate so much they can’t recuperate.”

We call on decision makers to implement evidence-based policies to improve access to care and prioritize timely intervention to manage AD – all with the aim to advance the health and well-being of individuals and contribute to the long-term economic and social prosperity of society.

MAT-GLB-2305184 V1.0 | October 2023

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#Atopic #dermatitis #Timely #access #needed

Britain’s COVID-19 inquiry exposes the rot at the heart of Whitehall

LONDON — Everyone knew the British state had problems. This week revealed just how deep the rot goes.

Britain’s public inquiry into the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic stepped up a gear this week, with a procession of key witnesses taking the stand who were at the heart of the U.K. government in 2020.

The punchy oral testimony — and sweary WhatsApp messages — of Dominic Cummings, the former No. 10 Downing Street adviser turned arch enemy of Boris Johnson, grabbed all the headlines, as he attacked his old boss while struggling to account for his own crude and abusive language.

But it was Cummings’ long, incisive written statement to the inquiry, along with the testimony of a former top civil servant, Helen MacNamara, which contained the starkest home truths for the British state.

“I think we are absolutely fucked. I think the country is heading for a disaster. I think we are going to kill thousands,” MacNamara was revealed to have told colleagues in March 2020, as coronavirus began to grip the U.K.

Those words, from the-then second most powerful civil servant in the country, came as she and other senior officials abruptly realized the U.K. government had no real plan to deal with a global pandemic of that nature — despite years of confident reassurances to the contrary.

“I have just been talking to the [U.K. government] official Mark Sweeney, who is in charge of coordinating with the Department for Health,” MacNamara recalled saying. “He said — ‘I have been told for years that there is a whole plan for this. There is no plan.’ We are in huge trouble.”

What followed that dawning realization was an intense period of chaos, as ministers and officials grappled with never-before-considered questions such as whether to ban people from meeting their loved ones, and whether to place Britain into a strict lockdown.

Fingers are now being pointed at both individuals and wider systems for all that went wrong.

The blame game

Unsurprisingly, Britain’s ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson has taken his fair share of criticism this week.

“It was the wrong crisis for this prime minister’s skillset,” Lee Cain, Johnson’s former director of communications, said in his evidence Tuesday. Others were less diplomatic — including Cain himself, in private WhatsApp messages handed to the inquiry by ex-colleagues.

In one such WhatsApp exchange, Cummings and Cain — old friends from the 2016 ‘Vote Leave’ campaign — detailed how they found Johnson “exhausting” to work with due to his lurches back and forth on key policy decisions.

“Pretty much everyone calls him ‘the trolley’,” Cummings told the inquiry, referring to a disparaging nickname he invented for Johnson due to the ex-PM’s inability to hold a clear line.

But beyond the Boris-bashing, Cummings and other ex-officials focused their ire on the broader state of Britain’s governing systems, rather than bungling individuals at its centre.

Cummings described the all-important Cabinet Office department — responsible for organizing the business of government and linking different departments together — as a “bombsite” and a “dumpster fire,” with a “huge problem of quality control … inconsistent data, inconsistent facts.”

This disorganization had consequences.

On March 16, 2020, Cummings said he received an email from a senior official warning that the Cabinet Office had yet to see any real plans for the pandemic from government departments — “never mind evaluated and fixed them,” he said. The virus had been in the U.K. for almost three months.

“[The Cabinet Office] cannot drive priorities or fix problems with departments,” Cummings wrote.

What became clear over the course of this week was that the British government was slow to take the virus seriously in early 2020 and even slower at figuring out a coherent and consistent plan to deal with it, jumping back and forth between early efforts aimed at pursuing herd immunity — until it became clear such an approach would be catastrophic.

“There are many signs that the way the Cabinet Office works was extremely ill-suited to this crisis,” Giles Wilkes, a former No. 10 adviser and senior fellow at the Institute for Government think tank, told POLITICO.

“It is very good for bringing together the people needed to avoid rows blowing up the government. In our system that is really valuable. But from [Cummings’] very compelling account, it was not brilliantly set up to be the body that focusses the PM and his power on a rapidly changing, dangerous situation,” Wilkes added.

‘Toxic’ culture

MacNamara, second in command in the Cabinet Office at the time, drew similarly damning conclusions.

She described how the British government “moved up the gears more slowly than the pace of the crisis,” and remained fixated on standard day-to-day government business as the pandemic began to rage.

She also lambasted the culture at the heart of government — arguing a “macho” and “toxic” environment fostered by a largely male leadership team hampered the broader response.

She said female experts were ignored, and senior women in government “looked over.” She pointed to a lack of consideration of childcare during school closures, and of the impact of lockdown restrictions upon victims of domestic violence, as examples of policy areas that suffered due to a lack of a “female perspective” inside government.

One result of that toxic environment saw MacNamara herself targeted by Cummings with misogynistic language in a WhatsApp message to a colleague revealed by the inquiry. She said she was “disappointed” Johnson didn’t do more to keep his top adviser in check.

Britain’s current top brass are pushing back, at least a little. Speaking Thursday, U.K. Science Secretary Michelle Donelan insisted she did not recognize MacNamara’s account of the culture inside government.

Coming attractions

Cummings has argued — including in multiple tweets since his evidence session ended — that observers should focus on his arguments about the broader failures of the system.

But it is the failings of one particular individual, Johnson, who was ultimately responsible for directing the government, which will continue to be scrutinized in the months ahead.

“If the PM at the heart of this is not a functional entity, cannot make a decision, has fundamentally poor judgment or lack of attention, then it doesn’t matter if the system around him is brilliant or rubbish. Things will go awry when they reach his desk,” Wilkes told POLITICO.

“The central role of the PM, and his rubbishness, cannot be evaded.”

Johnson’s former Health Secretary Matt Hancock has also come under intense fire this week, for his role in the lack of apparent planning for a pandemic, his handling of testing targets, and the crisis in British care homes as COVID-19 hit.

Both MacNamara and Cummings accused Hancock of telling falsehoods during the pandemic — or, in MacNamara’s case, she agreed he had a habit of “regularly telling people things that they later discovered weren’t true.”

Johnson’s successor-but-one as prime minister, Rishi Sunak — who was U.K. chancellor during the pandemic — also has questions to answer. He will likely face particular scrutiny for his now-infamous “eat out to help out” scheme — a government-sponsored discount to encourage diners back into restaurants in the summer of 2020 — which some medical experts believe helped spread the virus.

Conveniently enough, all three men — Johnson, Sunak and Hancock — are slated to appear before the inquiry in the same week at the end of November, two people with knowledge of the inquiry told POLITICO.

All of Westminster is holding its breath.

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#Britains #COVID19 #inquiry #exposes #rot #heart #Whitehall

It’s time to hang up on the old telecoms rulebook

Joakim Reiter | via Vodafone

Around 120 years ago, Guglielmo Marconi planted the seeds of a communications revolution, sending the first message via a wireless link over open water. “Are you ready? Can you hear me?”, he said. Now, the telecommunications industry in Europe needs policymakers to heed that call, to realize the vision set by its 19th-century pioneers.

Next-generation telecommunications are catalyzing a transformation on par with the industrial revolution. Mobile networks are becoming programmable platforms — supercomputers that will fundamentally underpin European industrial productivity, growth and competitiveness. Combined with cloud, AI and the internet of things, the era of industrial internet will transform our economy and way of life, bringing smarter cities, energy grids and health care, as well as autonomous transport systems, factories and more to the real world.

5G is already connecting smarter, autonomous factory technologies | via Vodafone

Europe should be at the center of this revolution, just as it was in the early days of modern communications.

Next-generation telecommunications are catalyzing a transformation on par with the industrial revolution.

Even without looking at future applications, the benefits of a healthy telecoms industry for society are clear to see. Mobile technologies and services generated 5 percent of global GDP, equivalent to €4.3 trillion, in 2021. More than five billion people around the world are connected to mobile services — more people today have access to mobile communications than they do to safely-managed sanitation services. And with the combination of satellite solutions, the prospect of ensuring every person on the planet is connected may soon be within reach.

Satellite solutions, combined with mobile communications, could eliminate coverage gaps | via Vodafone

In our recent past, when COVID-19 spread across the world and societies went into lockdown, connectivity became critical for people to work from home, and for enabling schools and hospitals to offer services online.  And with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, when millions were forced to flee the safety of their homes, European network operators provided heavily discounted roaming and calling to ensure refugees stayed connected with loved ones.

A perfect storm of rising investment costs, inflationary pressures, interest rate hikes and intensifying competition from adjacent industries is bearing down on telecoms businesses across Europe.

These are all outcomes and opportunities, depending on the continuous investment of telecoms’ private companies.

And yet, a perfect storm of rising investment costs, inflationary pressures, interest rate hikes and intensifying competition from adjacent industries is bearing down on telecoms businesses across Europe. The war on our continent triggered a 15-fold increase in wholesale energy prices and rapid inflation. EU telecoms operators have been under pressure ever since to keep consumer prices low during a cost-of-living crisis, while confronting rapidly growing operational costs as a result. At the same time, operators also face the threat of billions of euros of extra, unforeseen costs as governments change their operating requirements in light of growing geopolitical concerns.

Telecoms operators may be resilient. But they are not invincible.

The odds are dangerously stacked against the long-term sustainability of our industry and, as a result, Europe’s own digital ambitions. Telecoms operators may be resilient. But they are not invincible.

The signs of Europe’s decline are obvious for those willing to take a closer look. European countries are lagging behind in 5G mobile connectivity, while other parts of the world — including Thailand, India and the Philippines — race ahead. Independent research by OpenSignal shows that mobile users in South Korea have an active 5G connection three times more often than those in Germany, and more than 10 times their counterparts in Belgium.

Europe needs a joined-up regulatory, policy and investment approach that restores the failing investment climate and puts the telecoms sector back to stable footing.

Average 5G connectivity in Brazil is more than three times faster than in Czechia or Poland. A recent report from the European Commission — State of the Digital Decade ( shows just how far Europe needs to go to reach the EU’s connectivity targets for 2030.

To arrest this decline, and successfully meet EU’s digital ambitions, something has got to give. Europe needs a joined-up regulatory, policy and investment approach that restores the failing investment climate and puts the telecoms sector back to stable footing.

Competition, innovation and efficient investment are the driving forces for the telecoms sector today. It’s time to unleash these powers — not blindly perpetuate old rules. We agree with Commissioner Breton’s recent assessment: Europe needs to redefine the DNA of its telecoms regulation. It needs a new rulebook that encourages innovation and investment, and embraces the logic of a true single market. It must reduce barriers to growth and scale in the sector and ensure spectrum — the lifeblood of our industry — is managed more efficiently. And it must find faster, futureproofed ways to level the playing field for all business operating in the wider digital sector.  

But Europe is already behind, and we are running out of time. It is critical that the EU finds a balance between urgent, short-term measures and longer-term reforms. It cannot wait until 2025 to implement change.

Europeans deserve better communications technology | via Vodafone

When Marconi sent that message back in 1897, the answer to his question was, “loud and clear”. As Europe’s telecoms ministers convene this month in León, Spain, their message must be loud and clear too. European citizens and businesses deserve better communications. They deserve a telecoms rulebook that ensures networks can deliver the next revolution in digital connectivity and services.

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#time #hang #telecoms #rulebook

Meet Westminster’s attack dogs

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LONDON — The next U.K. general election is likely more than a year away, but Westminster’s political attack dogs are already flexing their muscles and entering the fray.

Strategists from both main U.K. parties have spent the quiet summer months briefing that the “gloves are coming off” in their approach to their opponents and they are ready to start aggressively throwing political punches in the pre-campaign phony war.

Here is POLITICO’s guide to some of the key people — both on camera and behind-the-scenes — masterminding, and hoping to land, lasting blows on their opponents. 

In the blue corner

Alex Wild: The Conservative Party director of communications is one of the more experienced media strategists in today’s Tory Party. He cut his teeth at the Taxpayers’ Alliance — a Westminster campaign group which digs out examples of reckless government spending, feeding them to scoop-hungry hacks. He joined Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ) during Boris Johnson’s 2019 election campaign, and was rewarded with adviser — or SpAD — jobs in Johnson’s new government, first in the Home Office and then the Ministry of Justice. Having survived the thankless task of being interim press secretary to Liz Truss during her short tenure as PM, playing attack rather than defense back in CCHQ will be a welcome change. He is running day-to-day operations, but in close contact with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s election strategist Isaac Levido.

Marcus Natale: At Wild’s side is Marcus Natale, a former special adviser to Truss’ even shorter-lived Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng. Natale, who is currently director of the Conservative Research Department, is a party man like Wild. He headed up CCHQ’s briefing operation during the Theresa May years before making it into No. 10 Downing Street as an adviser to Boris Johnson. He took a job advising Kwarteng in the business and energy department in August 2021, before heading to the Treasury with his boss when he became chancellor for 38 days under Truss. The CRD has long been seen as a key training ground for leading Conservative politicians, with ex-Chancellor George Osborne, former Prime Minister David Cameron and current Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden among its alumni. Mastermind a decent blow on your opponents from there, and a successful political career could await.

Kemi Badenoch: The business and trade secretary has won a place in grassroots Tories’ hearts and minds for being unafraid to call it as she sees it — particularly when it comes to so-called “wokery.” The right of the party was heartened by her punchy performance in the first Tory leadership contest last year, seeing her as a difficult nut for Labour to crack. Since then, she’s been tied up by a weighty Cabinet brief and sniping from the Brexiteers’ European Research Group — and is not universally trusted in No. 10. But she remains one of the Cabinet’s most impressive media performers, and could resurface if Sunak’s team deign to get her back on the airwaves in the run-up to the election.

Lee Anderson: The blunt-speaking former coal miner is the ying to the yang of mega-rich ex-banker Rishi Sunak. The Tory deputy chairman is not afraid to court controversy, winning the moniker “30p Lee” after arguing food bank users did not understand how to budget and that meals can easily be cooked from scratch for “about 30 pence a day.” This week he hogged headlines for saying unhappy asylum seekers should “fuck off back to France” — the type of sentiment which some Tory strategists think could appeal to a certain part of the electorate, but that few Cabinet ministers would be willing to put their names to. Anderson attracts more media attention than his boss, the Tory Party Chair Greg Hands, who is amusing (himself at least) with a series of posts with the infamous “there’s no money left” letter written by a Labour minister back in 2010. There is now even an X/Twitter account dedicated to keeping track of every Hands tweet featuring the infamous correspondence.

Richard Holden: Holden is a CCHQ man through and through, having served as the party’s deputy head of press during the latter David Cameron years. He would have seen at close quarters the crack operation which allowed the Tories to win a surprise majority in 2015. Now an MP and transport minister, Holden still relishes a fight. He led the charge in the so-called “beergate” attack on Labour leader Keir Starmer last year, attempting to distract from then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s own “partygate” woes. Holden repeatedly called for a police investigation into footage of Starmer drinking a bottle of beer over a takeaway curry while working late during a COVID-19 lockdown. Holden is being tipped for promotion in Sunak’s next reshuffle. 

Johnny Mercer: Despite his reputation as a loose cannon, Mercer is regarded as an effective communicator “when pointed in the right direction,” as one colleague puts it. The defense minister’s recent attack on newly elected 25-year-old Labour MP Keir Mather, as an “Inbetweener” — referencing a popular British TV comedy about teenage boys — attracted opprobrium across the political spectrum, but some hardier Tories applauded it as healthy sparring. It certainly cut through with the media, as most things Mercer touches tend to do. He will continue to make headlines in the run-up to the election, with or without Downing Street’s sanction.

In the red corner

Paul Ovenden: Ovenden, a former Sunday Telegraph journalist, is the Labour Party’s director of attack and rebuttal. He heads the team of Labour researchers placing attack stories in national outlets, and helps cook up punchy one-liners for shadow ministers to deploy on the airwaves.  He is also responsible for the party’s attention-grabbing digital ads, which have generated significant attention … and significant controversy. 

Wes Streeting: Expect to see a lot more of Streeting in the run up to the election. Long touted as a future leader — although seen as too right-wing by the Labour Left — he is one of the shadow Cabinet’s most confident and combative media performers. While some of his colleagues were a little squeamish about recent online adverts claiming Rishi Sunak does not believe people who sexually abuse children should be sent to prison, the shadow health secretary said the party was correct “to take the gloves off” while campaigning, and promised there would be more to come.

Steve Reed: An unapologetic populist who will be keen to talk about the Conservatives’ record on law and order. The shadow justice secretary has helped drive Labour’s tack towards a “tough on crime” message which takes the fight to the Tories in one of the ruling party’s traditional areas of strength. He was widely named as one of the brains behind that notorious attack ad, and is among the party’s most direct Twitter critics of Sunak. 

Angela Rayner: Starmer’s deputy is known for her plain talking and pugnacious style, which she has deployed to good effect when filling in at prime minister’s questions. The chatter in Westminster is that Rayner — who also holds the employment rights brief — could be in line for demotion at the next reshuffle as her media appearances dwindle. Yet it would come as a shock if the party opted not to deploy her more visibly in the run-up to the next election, particularly as they seek to regain lost territory in her native north of England. 

Shabana Mahmood: Labour’s campaign coordinator may not be a household name, but she’s an effective operator who’s well-liked across the party and does not shirk from hard-hitting and aggressive attacks. She’s put in the hard yards overseeing multiple by-elections over the past two years, and will be rallying the troops ahead of the big one next year.

Amber warning

Christine Jardine: Famed for their mild manners, the Lib Dems have never had a huge pool of attack dogs to draw from. But Jardine, the Edinburgh West MP, is seen as one of the party’s key media performers. As a Scottish MP she is as focused on turning her fire on the SNP north of the border as she is on the Conservatives down south, with Scotland set to be a key battleground for the Lib Dems at the next election.

Dave McCobb: The Lib Dems will also be sparring with the Labour Party in several seats and McCobb, the party’s director of field campaigns, has expertise in such turf wars as a local councilor in Hull. McCobb organizes the team pulling together the party’s famed mountain of election leaflets, which notoriously get under the skin of their opponents via the occasional dodgy graph.

Nat attack

Stephen Flynn: For the first time since their 2015 landslide, the SNP’s dominance of Scottish politics is threatened — by a resurgent Scottish Labour Party looking to win back swathes of SNP Westminster seats. With that threat at the front of their minds, Scottish nationalists these days largely train their fire on Keir Starmer’s party rather than bothering with the distant Tories of England and Wales. Westminster chief Flynn has led SNP attacks on the opposition that seek to exploit Labour U-turns and portray Starmer as right-wing. With Flynn’s influence in the party growing, the SNP’s national leader and first minister Humza Yousaf has largely left it to the Westminster leader’s team to set the tone of attacks on Labour.

David Linden: Keenly involved in these efforts is the party’s social justice spokesperson at Westminster, who would likely lose his Glasgow seat in the event of any Labour surge. Linden has become a regular presence on the airwaves and represented the SNP on the BBC’s flagship Question Time program earlier this summer. He is also close to Flynn, and recently came up with a stunt that saw Flynn’s office distribute mugs slamming a Starmer welfare policy to Westminster’s lobby corps.

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Keeping the digital ecosystem strong

Wassim Chourbaji, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs & Public Policy EMEA at Qualcomm

Competitive markets and strong partnerships have always encouraged companies to innovate. Policies promoting such an environment allow for more inventions and creations within national, regional and international markets.

The EU leads the world in understanding the broad, interlinked forces driving technology innovation in the digital sector. The approval and enforcement of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) exemplify this leadership and are critical to preserving an open digital ecosystem.

The development of communications network infrastructure is another important area that can spur innovation. The EU has recognized the need to incentivize investment in digital infrastructure through ‘virtuous circles’ to bring reliable and secure connectivity. The physical network sits at the core of the digital ecosystem, but is also at the heart of our economies and societies.

Moreover, the EU has focused on the strategic value of semiconductors as engines of the digital transition that foster Europe’s competitiveness. The EU Chips Act has highlighted the need for a geo-diversified production and coordinated strategy amongst countries to balance global dynamics, security needs and supply priorities.

Fostering talent

In addition to the regulatory environment, it is important to nurture the human ingenuity that drives technology by strengthening partnerships that bring people and companies together.

Successful partnerships that lead to cutting-edge innovations are built on the individual human connections that spark new ideas. Talent is the most valuable resource for today’s knowledge-based economy. Promoting participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to create the skilled workforce necessary for the global digital economy is essential. Qualcomm collaborates with community stakeholders on several programs across Europe that reach and inspire students from all backgrounds.

Furthermore, local innovation hubs have a paramount role in attracting, retaining and developing talent. With this in mind, Qualcomm established a 5G/6G R&D centre in Lannion, France, and an Artificial Intelligence (AI) R&D lab in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, doing fundamental research to fuel the connected intelligent edge with innovation.

Successful partnerships that lead to cutting-edge innovations are built on the individual human connections that spark new ideas.

Transforming through partnerships

Partnerships to develop and apply advanced technologies are decisive in unlocking access to future innovations and use cases, such as leveraging the metaverse for industrial and learning applications. Europe is an epicenter of technology R&D leadership — and our labs in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain are integral to our ability to engage in such partnerships.

From operators to automotive and industrial players, Qualcomm’s partnerships with European companies are good examples of how shared digital value can be created across an expanding range of verticals – by combining complementary technologies and expertise.

The automotive sector is a prime example. Digital transformation is a priority for automakers as vehicles become connected computers on wheels. Qualcomm’s digital chassis high-performance solutions empower automakers to add a full suite of technology to create software-defined intelligent vehicles that are highly customizable and upgradeable. This flexibility enables the adoption of a wider array of powerful automotive platforms, while allowing automakers to keep the relation with their customers and shape the in-vehicle digital experience.

Europe is an epicenter of technology R&D leadership — and our labs in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain are integral to our ability to engage in partnerships.

Protecting innovative ideas

As companies like Qualcomm drive cycles of innovation and creativity, it is important to have a strong intellectual property regime that protects the ideas that emerge. One key area that relies on such protections are communications standards like 5G. Standards are the foundation of the digital ecosystem. They also are crucial to competition, helping new entrants compete with existing players.

Today’s 5G standard is a direct descendant of a European initiative back in the 1980s that pushed for a single mobile standard to enable the single market. Europe’s strong patent rights were critical to its early leadership in mobile standards. These rights have given innovative companies the necessary incentives to invest in research and development and to contribute their intellectual property (IP) to the standards. Without these incentives, innovation within the ecosystem would stagnate.

This year, the European Commission will tackle files that will impact standards development – including the IP that fuels the necessary ongoing innovation. It is our hope that their importance to the digital ecosystem continues to be championed.

Qualcomm is a partner to Europe in achieving its digital transformation through talent development, transformative partnerships, and continuous innovation.

Building a future vision

All stakeholders have a role to play in incentivizing a vibrant digital ecosystem. By keeping a holistic view of all aspects that support a healthy digital ecosystem, Europe is bound for success.

This success can be further bolstered by the joint EU-US continuous dialogue. We hope the Trade and Technology Council (TTC) will be a vehicle for the EU-US cooperation to address new and emerging global tech and trade challenges. The TTC could serve as a focal point to increase trust and understanding to enable innovation, encourage investments and foster competition. Global leadership can only be achieved through policy cooperation and market-led approaches.

Qualcomm is a partner to Europe in achieving its digital transformation through talent development, transformative partnerships, and continuous innovation. Our connected future depends on it.

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