Growth in the European Union has remained sluggish following the economic crisis. While a number of strategies on how to improve growth have been formulated, implementing those strategies as always faces considerable political constraints. In a bid to crowdsource solutions to the issue, McKinsey & Company has, under the patronage of EC president Jean-Claude Juncker, launched a 5,000 word essay competition for a solution to the region’s growth conundrum.
Growth in Europe has been relatively subdued since the financial crisis. While a number of ECB interventions, as well as member state policies, have sought to improve growth, average annual growth has remained at around 1% over the past five years, well below the 3.1% annual average booked in 2007 and 2006. The low growth has been a cause of concern for policy planners, whose projects for public finances had placed expected long term growth higher.
In a bid to understand the wider growth outlook within the EU, McKinsey & Company last year launched a report titled ‘A window of opportunity for Europe’, which explores a range of metrics related to growth and why they are impacting the lives of Europeans as well as what can be done to improve the situation in terms of a number of policy levers. The report found that, in order to meet civil needs, a massive €2.2 trillion in additional spending would be needed yearly.Yet, while a ‘why’ and ‘what’ are identified in the report, how to bring about improvements to growth, is not.
As part of the consulting firm’s bid to identify how growth within the EU could be realised, and as a follow-up to complete the report, McKinsey has launched an essay contest. The essay, which can be up to 5,000 words, asks respondents for a solution to the European conundrum: how to implement a pro-growth economic strategy that is both effective and that appeals to voters and policy-makers. The European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker is the patron of the contest, and, states the fundamental issue at hand for the region in the dilemma “we all know what to do, but we don’t know how to get re-elected once we have done it.”
The winner(s) of the contest will receive a handsome reward for their efforts, in the form of a €60,000 prize. The runner(s) up will receive €15,000, while the best essay written under the age of 30 will be awarded a prise of €25,000. Pascal Lamy, a former European Trade Commissioner and ex-director general of the World Trade Organisation, will chair the panel of judges. The essay must be submitted by July 31, and an award for the essay(s) judged the best, is to be presented at a dinner ceremony in Brussels in October.