Europe 5.0 – the next step to European integration?

Digitalisation has changed the entire world and consequently Europe. The authors Frieden/Heinen/Leither recommend in their book a so called “Europe 5.0” as a new business model for the entire continent in order to increase the European competitiveness on the market. According to their concept, European enterprises should join forces and cooperate on a transnational level with the goal to remain globally successful. Our industries can only keep up with digitalisation and the global developments this way.

By Julia Mayer / 30.06.2019

As a private person, we all use different digital ways to communicate and cooperate via social media networks every day. But also for companies, these new forms of cooperation offer new chances for their day to day work, such as when it comes to monitoring and developing processes. However, in the working environment the use of certain communication strategies is often more difficult to implement. When comparing the biggest internet enterprises, the USA and Asia are the global leaders. Silicon Valley is known as the heart of digital developments – start-ups are founded in this digital hotspot like nowhere else. And it cannot be denied that Europe has fallen behind when it comes to American internet development. However, we should not focus all efforts on catching up or running after other countries. It is rather advisable to look ahead and to focus on the implementation of digital technologies not only in the service sector.

Big data: Impact on the industrial sector

Digitalisation calls for another industrial revolution. Only intelligent and highly flexible production processes, able to represent a dynamic value added chain, will persist. According to Frieden/Heinen/Leithner, this is only achievable by comprehensive data handling, automatization of the entire internal logistics and interlinking of external logistics. When it comes to data collection, we are far at the front. As a next step, we have to work on the further processing of data. However, processing data is currently hindered by the lack of compatibility of devices which does not allow for devices to communicate or exchange data. An easier way to communicate between all parties involved would be the use of smart-grids. They are intelligent power grids which guarantee non-stop communication and efficient power supply at the same time.

Fostering globalisation

Digitalisation also leads to an increasing globalisation. On the one hand, it has become easier to bridge distances which leads to new possibilities of collaboration and international cooperation. On the other hand, competition is increasing with lowered market entry barriers. With the changing conditions, European companies can no longer compete with giant internet corporations such as Amazon. It seems like they intentionally ignore the possibilities of European wide cooperation and rather focus on selling their own companies to international competitors. For foreign corporations investing in European companies is the key to entering the European market.
It is important to highlight the importance of the European common market and to include it in business strategies in order to strengthen European companies. Alliances and an active exchange between companies are helpful to stay competitive on the international market. By doing so, innovations and production processes can be more efficiently implemented. Cooperation further leads to a knowledge transfer which is beneficial to everyone included. Thus, the keywords for a sustainable securing of the market shares are now: focus, consolidation, cooperation.

Digital maturity

In order to reach a close European connection, it is necessary to define and seek out digital trends and to include them in our own worldview. Only when one detects new forms of cooperation, one can successfully implement them. Studies, however, show that the majority of European companies only recognize the cost of transitions and rarely also see the business opportunities. Furthermore, implementing digital technologies also calls for the increased digital competences of staff, to prepare them for the digital transformation and to provide support to face the change. In this context, it is important to highlight the advantages and to weigh the benefits and risks.
Like in any other project and with every change in workflows, it is important to include everyone in the process, to communicate the transformation and to go through with the change. By doing so, European companies will be able to stay competitive on the international market. So, go and cooperate, communicate and change!

Sources (and for more information):
Frieden, L./ Heinen N./ Leithner S.: Europa 5.0 – Ein Geschäftsmodell für unseren Kontinent, Campus – Verlag, 2016


Julia Mayer (Germany)

Studies: Public Management

Languages : German, English, and French

Europe is… a community that unites, founded on peace and common values, unique in this way, essential for our coexistence.


Barbara Konturek (Austria)

Study: Journalism, Media and Globalisation (Erasmus Mundus Master)

Languages: German, English, some Danish and French

Europe is… a place full of very different and interesting people – I am happy to be part of it.


Jearl Boatswain

Studies: European Studies, French and Spanish

Languages: English, French, Spanish

Europe is… open to everyone.

Author: alessandra

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