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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Open Europe Berlin: One year on

With the first anniversary of the founding of our sister organisation, Open Europe Berlin, fast approaching, it seems an appropriate time to look back at its achievements over its first year. Following an impressive launch in Berlin featuring a keynote speech by former ECB Chief Economist Ottmar Issing, under the expert guidance of its Director, Professor Dr Michael Wohlgemuth, and Deputy-Director, Nora Hesse, OEB has been making waves on the German EU policy scene and beyond. Its influence is sizeable and growing continuously.

Just last week, leading German daily, Die Welt, described OEB as having a growing influence on the German media, and commended it, in particular, for its success in using social media to contribute cutting-edge research and market-orientated concepts to the debate about the future direction of the EU. The piece notes that OEB research and proposals have "even received responses from the European Commission."  In the past 12 months, OEB has become a fixture in both the German and international press, and for many, OEB became the go-to source for information, analysis and comment in the run-up to the German elections, including internationally broadcast interviews with the BBC and Reuters (see here for a compilation of OE and OEB's best #btw13 hits).

OEB research is already proving to be a leading source of analysis on key European issues including EU regulatory policy; banking union; the EU budget and the EU’s current democratic deficit. Research and media commentary aside, it has also managed to secure interviews with important German figures, including the renowned German economist Hans Werner-Sinn, and Bernd Lucke, leader of the anti-euro Alternative für Deutschland party, whose rapid rise has commanded attention around the world. The OEB blog is also a regular source of interesting information and comment, including guest posts from esteemed figures such as former FDP MP Frank Schäffler, Barenberg Chief Economist Holger Schmieding and Charles B. Blankart, an advisor to German Economy Ministry.

Fundamentally, however, Open Europe Berlin has, and will, continue to play an important role in helping to understand the role of Germany in the future of Europe. And as we have been arguing for quite some time, there is great scope for cooperation between the UK and Germany to agree on strategic and systemic changes to the way the EU operates. How this dynamic plays out, will, no doubt, have an important role in shaping the future of the European Union and both countries' places within it.


Rollo said...

Make sure OE does not become part of the propaganda arm of the EU please.

Anonymous said...

Como cidadão da Europa os meus parabéns á Open Europa Berlin

Rik said...


Like their blog. Good articles and written in a German way and with a focus on the German perspective as well. Very useful and practical as well btw.
Great as well how info is shared with other OEs, as said very useful.

Might consider (just a wild idea) like OE do more on the daily newsbriefing side. It gives a lot of exposure. More indirectly but all your real stuff is brought to the attention of a lot of people that way. Hard to escape when it is 4-5 times referred to in a daily briefing and summarised often as well.
A lot of people read OEs daily stuff as I can see it.
It is a lot of work of course but likely will make you reach a lot of decisionmakers and on a daily basis.
Basically OEs is the only business/economics oriented briefing on EU issues. Where politics determine for a large part the economic and financial outcome of things.

Financial and economic briefings that there are are simply for a large part not fit for purpose, being mainly written from an AngloSaxon economic pov. In general these simply miss for a big part if not completely the political and historical context in which these things play. Which makes the link between OE and OE Berlin even more important. The Continental European (and German as well) context is translated basically into info fit for the wider world.
The rest simply too late for daily use (Brueghel) or mainly general (and not financial) press oriented.

Other think tanks as well are not very well suited in this respect as well.
Vox is too academic and has an EU bias.
LSE is too academic most of the time and has a lot of (mainly sociology oriented) appalingly bad stuff around. Clearly needs much better editing. Plus often an unrealistic lefty bias. Nothing wrong with being left as such but Utopian stuff is simply useless.
PresseEurope has the problem that it basically only summarises the poor crap in this respect from European papers.
EUobserver you first have to brush the organic soybeans away and see if things do not have a carbon footprint which is too large.
FTblog. Basically it looks like the do a post when they feel like it. No consistency.
In a nutshell the competition is in general poor and left-academic oriented often with an EU bias as well and inconsistent in delivering info. While the info is simply of great importance for especially business as political decisions determine economic outcome.

Rik said...

A related topic.
OE got the current trends spot on. Made all the right calls as I can see it at least.
-move to economics;
-move away from Europhile to Eurocritical;
-move to practical (from academic stuff);
-focus on the combination politics and economics and the interaction between the 2;
-expand in Germany (as the future of Europe in several ways is determined there, if it will be determined by the South it is probably end of story at least for European prosperity).

Next trends as I see it at least (my 5 cts):
-increasing demand for proper info re the relation between EU politics and economics. Still the majority of analyst and nearly all media havenot got a clue. Basically base their stuff on the assumption that economics will determine politics. While they are proven wrong several times in a row. Nevertheless the trend is in a continuation (of the current trend), likely even getting mainstream in that process.
-Increasing demand for better analysis.

Look at Handellsblatt this week US top economists predict end of crisis and something very similar mentioned in your daily briefing. Issue being what do they know about things outside their fields of expertise?
With economists is is clearly in general very little. Same with Greek PMs announcing that the country has made the U-turn. First of all they couldnot find their economic backsides if the sat on it and second they have a huge conflict of interest. Third they are not really the decisionmakers on this. Relevant decisions are made by others. It is not Merkel stating something on the German economy.
Same with stats and subsequently prognosis. These get more and more unreliable (and people start to notice). It is likely a new market to analyse even in only the basics how reliable they are. Clearly a lot of people still work with the same pre 2008 models that simply have shown themselves time and time again not to be working in the present crisis. Subsequently prognosis are based upon it (and even bigger rubbish).
Next to political windowdressing on the rise.
As I see it a huge demand for properly analysis if even only on credibility of the source and potential conflicts of interest. basically ending up in a sort of chance and standard deviation-like estimate. An independent analysis would be great but even the answers on 2 simple questions is incredibly helpful:
-How good is this prediction and are the facts obo how well the source did in similar circumstances and compared to other players?
-Is there a conflict of interest playing.

At the end of the day the best info nearly always wins everthing else being equal of course.
Algos have now basically taken over the market, but the main weakness they show is the fact that can best be summarised as rubbish in rubbish out. The quality of the imput.