To celebrate, Bank of Estonia held a high-profile conference on Opportunities of Estonian Economy in Global Competition today where I had the pleasure to participate in a panel with a fancy long name: “Competitiveness of Europe and Nordic-Baltic region – private sector view”, alongside with esteemed gentlemen like Microsoft’s European Chairman Jan Muehlfeit, Nordic Investment Bank SVP Gunnar Okk and Stockmann CEO Hannu Penttilä.
I have to admit that for the most part I recycled what I said in Budapest half a year ago. The issues facing the long term competitiveness of European businesses have not really improved recently anyway, have they?
The best speech of the day definitely came from Siim Kallas, our VP of European Commission. He naturally has the colorful first-hand memories of introducing the Kroon, but also shed some light in the political processes behind Euro these days. And shared some criticism to those of Estonian entrepreneurs who have sold their shares off to the West too early, such as the blooming larger banks of late 90s. It was soothing to hear that he gave some relief to Skype, where the Estonian office is still booming along with our global growth and nobody has really retired on the money they made from eBay transaction.