Data is ‘oil of the future,’ Dubai government summit told

Mohamed Al-Gergawi, UAE minister for cabinet affairs and the future
Updated 11 February 2018

Data is ‘oil of the future,’ Dubai government summit told

DUBAI: Data is the “oil of the future,” Mohammad Al-Gergawi, UAE minister for cabinet affairs and the future, told the opening session of the World Government Summit in Dubai.
A packed audience heard the minister set out the agenda for the three-day event, which has attracted 4,000 leaders from the worlds of business and economic and public policy. Digital communications giants such as Google and Facebook would soon know more about individuals than governments do, Al-Gergawi said.
“By 2045, we will be able to transfer and upload the contents of the human mind to a data center. Governments must be prepared for these coming changes. The aim of this summit is to find answers and set priorities to meet these challenges and opportunities.”
The theme of the summit is “shaping future governments,” and Al-Gergawi detailed the challenges policymakers will face in health, artificial intelligence, crypto currencies and their impact on global finance, climate change and the issues of digital connectivity.
Klaus Schwab, founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum, who also spoke at the opening session, harked back 10 years to the onset of the global financial crisis, which he said threatened a series of other crises in economies, in societies and between generations.
“We avoided a complete breakdown of the financial system, but there was a cost. The world’s debts now add up to 200 per cent of global GDP,” he said.
Schwab said most experts, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Monetary Fund, were forecasting two years of  “sound, comprehensive growth,” but he said financial markets were still addicted to low interest rates and cheap capital.
There were still risks of a social crisis, he said, with levels of inequality and an unfair system of wealth distribution, as well as a generational crisis. “The world’s education systems do not satisfy the requirements of the 21st century.”
He highlighted global risks such as geopolitical issues, inequality, cybersecurity, gender parity and failures of leadership.
The pace of technological change was increasing all the time and adding to the pressures on policymakers, Schwab said. “Never before has the speed of change been so fast as in 2018. But also, never again will the speed of change be so slow as it is in 2018.”


EU leaders to clash over money as Brexit blows hole in budget

Updated 20 February 2020

EU leaders to clash over money as Brexit blows hole in budget

  • Britain’s exit leaves 75 billion euro hole in bloc’s finances
  • For next 7-year cycle, starting point for talks is 1.074% of GNI
BRUSSELS: European Union leaders will clash this week over the EU’s 2021-2027 budget as Britain’s exit leaves a 75 billion euro ($81 billion) hole in the bloc’s finances just as it faces costly challenges such as becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
The budget is the most tangible expression of key areas on which the EU members must focus over the next seven years and their willingness to stump up.
For the coming seven-year cycle, the starting point for talks is 1.074% of the bloc’s gross national income (GNI), or 1.09 trillion euros. By contrast, EU national budgets claw in 47% of annual output (GDP) on average.
Still, disputes over hundredths of percentage points have kept EU and government officials busy for the last two years and many diplomats remain skeptical that a deal will be reached on Thursday and Friday, when leaders meet in Brussels.
“Tomorrow’s summit is a complex and complicated summit because the proposal we have received does not meet our expectations,” said Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Italy is one of the net contributors to the common EU pot.
The EU budget gets money from customs duties on goods entering its single market, a cut of sales tax, antitrust fines imposed by the EU on companies, and from national contributions.
It spends money on subsidies for EU farmers, on equalizing living standards across the bloc, border management, research, security and various non-EU aid programs.
Some net contributors — the “frugal four” of the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark — want to limit the budget to 1.00% of GNI. Germany, the biggest contributor, is prepared to accept a bit more, but 1.07 is too high for Berlin.

Cohesion funds
The European Commission has proposed 1.1% and the European Parliament, which will vote on the budget, wants 1.3%. For net beneficiaries such as Poland, larger is better.
For many central and eastern European countries, EU “cohesion funds” are crucial. “The costs related to Brexit and other challenges should be more equitably distributed,” Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote in the Financial Times, adding this was not the case due to proposed deep cuts for cohesion policies and the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
But with less money coming in because of Brexit, some net contributors argue there is simply less to share around. Also, more money should be spent to modernize the EU economy rather than on preserving agriculture, they say.
EU leaders will discuss the idea of a tax on plastic waste that would go to EU coffers and sharing some profits from trading carbon emission permits.
The EU is also considering other taxes — on the digital economy, on flying, on financial transactions and on products made with high CO2 emissions imported into the EU.
Commission officials warn time is running out and the EU risks starting next year with no money to protect its borders, finance research and fund student exchanges, or equalize standards of living.