Tuesday

24th May 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

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesNew rules for posted workers - Better Protection or the End of Posting ?
  2. Innovators Under 35Meet MIT Technology Review's Innovators Under 35 Award Recipients from Belgium on 25 May, 6pm
  3. Open EuropeJoin the Brussels Brexit Debate on Wednesday, 25 May at 5:00 PM
  4. World VisionWhy The EU Needs to Put Children at the Centre of Emergencies - In Their Words
  5. ACCASustainability Reporting in Danger of Losing Its Momentum Says ACCA and CDSB
  6. CEDEC - Covenant of MayorsWebinar on 25 May - Electric Vehicles Development: The Role of Local Entities
  7. Dialogue PlatformDiversity as Heritage of Humanity! Join the “Colors of the World“ Show at the EP
  8. Centre Maurits CoppietersNew Responses to the Basque Peace Process? MEP Juaristi on Stateless Challenges Conference
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceImproving Cardiovascular Health Begins by Closing the Gap in Sex Disparities
  10. IPHRBrussels Talks to Take Stock of Human Rights in Turkmenistan
  11. World VisionCash-based Programming to Address Hunger in South Sudan:
  12. Belgrade Security ForumOpen Call for Applications! Join the Events Team at the 6th Belgrade Security Forum.

Latest News

  1. Terrorists likely stockpiling explosives in EU, says Europol
  2. EU navies to help Libya coastguard stop migrants
  3. Merkel casts doubt on Turkey visa-free travel
  4. EU and Poland in last minute talks on rule of law
  5. Tough challenges ahead for Austria's president
  6. Search for VW compensation larger in EU than in US
  7. EU 'relief' at far-right defeat in Austria
  8. EU defends Turkey deal in light of Greek court ruling