Fedactio @ Paleizenstraat 27/5, 1030 Brussels
Speaker: Dr. Adem KUMCU, President of UNITEE (European-Turkish Business Confederation)
Talk: “The Economic Crisis in Europe and the Role of Turkish Entrepreneurs and Professionals”
European Professionals Network (EPN) brought together professionals from various fields around its traditional Breakfast Talks programme. This first series was a great opportunity for networking, friendship building and exchange of views.
Our first Breakfast Talks programme started with a sincere breakfast with the participation of around 50 professionals from various fields. People coming from different parts of Belgium had the chance to know each other and built new friendships.
After the opening speech by the secretary-general of EPN, Mr. Adem Kumcu took the floor to perform his speech on “European Economic Crisis and the Role of Turkish Entrepreneurs and Professionals”.
As opposed to what is often declared as economic and financial crisis that the world is going through for the last several years, Mr. Kumcu has listed 5 different crisis that Europe is actually facing today as following:
1. Economic Crisis
It is the most visible crisis that we see today as everybody knows more or less what this means.
2. Social Crisis
Europe has also a social crisis mainly because of the fact that people have adopted a more individualistic approach in their lifestyles. Accordingly, they have become increasingly alone and do rarely care about the others nor about their country. I could honestly say that I have almost never heard of anyone around me talking about its country`s political life. It is not the right way! People should be interested in things that are going on around them and have an effect on their lives.
We often hear about CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), but I`m still quite doubtful about how and to what extent it is aimed to assure a social responsibility and caring about others in a real sense.
We see suicide rates being so high particularly in the Western Europe where the welfare is comparatively the highest at all. Why are people committing suicides then? The answer is hidden behind realising that there is really a social crisis in Europe and then seeking solutions accordingly.
3. Demographic Crisis
Europe is also going through a severe demographic crisis because of its rapidly aging population and very low fertility rates. It is estimated that the average age in Europe will be about 49 and the population will go down by 60 millions by 2040. So, this picture alone is enough to show how serious this challenge is for the future of Europe.
4. Cultural Crisis
5. Political Crisis
Today, many politicians and experts agree on that Europe lacks a real leadership and charismatic leaders. It is evident by the fact that Europe is not able to speak with one voice on political issues as there is no such a powerful leader to be followed. Unfortunately, this lack of powerful leadership and strong political will in Europe has coincided with the recent severe economic crisis.
After listing these challenges, I could say that there is big role of ‘New Europeans’ (Mr Kumcu uses this term to refer migrant-origin people) in the awakening of Europe with their distinctive characteristics. They have the knowledge of at least 2 different countries (one of them being mostly a non-Europen country), hence 2 different languages and cultures. This may be a great potential in boosting economic investments and trade relations with these countries.
Turkish businessmen and professionals in particular are numbered approximately 6.5 millions in Europe today, and they are steadily increasing their capacities and skills. There are now around 120.000 Turkish university graduates and 140.000 Turkish entrepreneurs in Europe. As an interesting example, while the entrepreneurship tendency in Dutch university students is about 16% according to a study, this rate is around 44% among Turkish university students.
So, with its young and dynamic population whose educational level as well as capabilities are rapidly increasing, Turkish entrepreneurs and professionals have an important mission in rebuilding Europe`s future.