Saturday

10th Dec 2016

Focus

EU should keep out of innovation's way, Wikipedia-founder says

  • Wikipedia-founder Jimmy Wales says that to encourage innovation, policy-makers should keep out of the way (Photo: wikipedia.org)

To encourage innovation in Europe, policy-makers should just keep out of the way, Wikipedia-founder Jimmy Wales has said.

"I agree with the idea of streamlining and simplification. The only thing is that I would be much more extreme," he told EUobserver on Tuesday (8 May) on the sidelines of a conference in Brussels on EU innovation policy organised by global accounting firm Ernst & Young.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"The most important thing that Europe needs to do to spur innovation is to eliminate barriers," he added. "To make it easier for investors and entrepreneurs to start businesses and to make it easier to fail."

Compared to his native US, founding a company in Europe is famously burdensome - even though big differences exist between the north and the south of the continent.

In the US, the whole process does not have to take longer than five minutes. In Greece, it can take up to ten months.

Wales, who recently started work as an (unpaid) advisor to the UK government in London, is a strong believer in the free market.

According to Wikipedia, he is “a self-avowed objectivist-to-the-core, referring to a philosophy emphasizing reason, individualism and capitalism”.

He said that government funding often “seems like a way to help, but it actually may be doing more damage than good,” citing “unintended consequences”.

“There is a lot of tax money being spent on things that entrepreneurs and investors would not [spend money on],” he said. “And the reason why they do not is because they make no economic sense.”

The result, said Wales, is that “instead of getting a genuine, world-class infrastructure, you get some sort of government-funded mess that does not quite work.”

Wikipedia founder: European red tape hampering growth

EU asylum return focus expands police scrutiny

EU interior ministers agreed to start legislative talks with the EU parliament to expand the scope of an asylum database, Eurodac, to include migrants and stateless people.

Column / Brexit Briefing

The Brexit picture starts to emerge

The week in Westminster and Brussels highlight the difficulty Theresa May faces in trying to keep control of the Brexit timetable.

News in Brief

  1. Council of Europe critical of Turkey emergency laws
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Use Bioenergy Coming From Forests in a Sustainable Way?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First