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By Invitation


State of the Union Speech, 2016

President Jean-Claude Juncker delivered his State of the Union Address 2016 entitled Towards a better Europe - a Europe that protects, empowers and defends, to the European Parliament on Friday, 16 September. Given the critical times the European Union faces, we have decided to replicate the entire speech here. 

The Evolution of Business Consulting

Professional services firms are undergoing a profound transformation. The markets are changing and the old ways of doing business are becoming obsolete. Customers paying for professional services are becoming more sophisticated and more discerning. Why are we still doing business as usual when the world around us is in such extreme flux? This article explores the latest trends in business consulting. Troy Gautier is the Founder and Managing Director of Alliances Progress, LLC. He is an expert in designing and implementing strategic alliances, commercial partnerships and business networks. He is a former Partner with a global big four consulting firm where he worked across multiple industries and functional areas to sell and deliver innovative go-to-market projects and solutions.

Developing Business Clusters in Europe

The support and promotion of business clusters in Europe has been recognised by the European Commission and other European institutions since the late 1990s. This article introduces the European policy framework for business clusters and networks, and reviews some of the specific initiatives undertaken for their support. 

Renewable Power Sources and Incentives in Europe

The prediction of global warming led the European Commission to set, for the EU members, the goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent from 1990 levels by 2030, and defined mandatory levels for the percentage of wind, solar and other types of renewable power sources in the energy mix. This brief review by Mr. George Venetsanos, Vice President Solutions Business Development at ContourGlobal, reviews the incentive schemes available for renewable energy power in Europe.   

Research & Development and the Greek Crisis

The financial crisis in Greece began in late 2009 as the global financial crisis led to a dramatic rise in public borrowing costs for Greece. In 2010, the country accepted a first bail-out, which was followed by a second one in 2012. Since then, living standards have dropped dramatically. Recent estimates put the poverty level at above 30% and general unemployment above 26%, while real GDP has declined by over 20% between 2009 and 2012. 

In this financial environment, Mr. Stavros Papagianneas takes a close look at research and development spending in Greece and how it is affected by the financial crisis. Issues such as public and private sector expenditure on R&D as well as the brain drain affecting the sector are explored. This article holds important lessons for managing R&D in a crisis environment, as contains insights useful to other countries hit by the crisis. 

Mr. Stavros Papagianneas is Senior Communications Consultant at STP Communications (www.StPCommunications.com). He worked as Information and Communication Officer at the European Commission, DG Research and Innovation and as Press Officer at the Permanent Representation of Cyprus in Brussels. Stavros has a master's degree in Communication Sciences from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, and has since completed additional training and courses. 

A Consultant's Guide to Profit: Part 3

As competition in the consultancy sector increases, consultants are asking themselves why they seem to be working harder and harder each year, for less and less income. 

Philip Ammerman continues part 3 of this series by providing methods for calculating the Effective Daily Rate (EDR) and Cash Flow Cycle (CFC) for consultancy projects, whether these are indivudual sub-contracts or large technical assistance projects.

A Consultant's Guide to Profit: Part 2

As competition in the consultancy sector increases, consultants are asking themselves why they seem to be working harder and harder each year, for less and less income. 

Philip Ammerman continues part 2 of this series by providing methods for calculating Activities-Based Costing (ABC) and Break-Even Analysis. These methods are applicable to single consultants working on projects as well as companies employing multiple consultants and other support staff. 

A Consultant's Guide to Profit: Part 1

As competition in the consultancy sector increases, consultants are asking themselves why they seem to be working harder and harder each year, for less and less income. 

As Philip Ammerman, Managing Partner of Navigator Consulting Group demonstrates, understanding project and porftolio profitability in the consulting sector isn't a complicated process, but it demands discipline and measurement. In this By Invitation, Philip presents the first of three articles on managing profitability in the consultancy sector. This is a practitioner's approach to costing, budgeting and profitability monitoring that we hope will be of use to all ECN members. 

New Directions in Non-Government Action

International development aid has been growing and fragmenting. In addition to Official Development Assistance, developing countries are recipients of assistance from Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs), private investments and remittances. The number of donors and development projects is increasing as never before. In this environment, governments, development agencies and practitioners and other stakeholders are understandably concerned with the effectiveness of development aid structure and practise. 

Chris Roche is Director of Development Effectiveness at Oxfam Australia. His draft paper, entitled “New Directions in Non-Government Action”, was recently presented at the “Doubling Australian Aid” conference. He has graciously allowed ECN to reproduce the paper here.

Ireland's Bailout: One Year On

Dick Roche was Ireland's Minister for European Affairs until March 2011. At this time, national elections resulted in a loss of the Fianna Fail party, which had been in power during the 2008-2011 Irish financial crisis. In this article, Dick Roche provides ECN with an exclusive, inside view of the state of public finances, the impact of bank lending to the real estate sector, and the negotiations which led to the Irish bailout.

This is part of a paper delivered to the "Quo Vadis Europe" conference organised by Suomen Keskusta, the Finnish Centre Party and the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party (ELDR), held in Helsinki on Monday 14 November. Dick is Vice President of the ELDR and a member of ECN's Advisory Board.