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The New Knowledge Economy in Europe

A Strategy for International Competitiveness and Social Cohesion

Edited by Maria João Rodrigues

Knowledge is fast becoming one of the main sources of wealth, yet it can also become a source of inequalities. The New Knowledge Economy in Europe attempts to determine whether it is possible to hasten the transition towards a knowledge-based economy and enhance competitiveness with increased employment and improved social cohesion across Europe. The book is an amalgamation of the scientific and political agendas which led to the European strategy for the knowledge-based economy adopted by the European Union.
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Chapter 7: The construction of European identity

A Strategy for International Competitiveness and Social Cohesion

Manuel Castells


Manuel Castells PRELIMINARY REMARKS This is not a research paper. It is a policy-oriented document prepared at the request of the Portuguese presidency of the European Union in the first semester of 2000. It does rely on a number of materials, information, and analyses, most of which can be found in my trilogy ‘The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture’ (Oxford: Blackwell, revised edition, 2000). In this context, I will not try to demonstrate my points. This is written in statement mode, to suggest ideas and directions for discussion, with the purpose of advancing in the construction of European identity. I will not be dealing here with major strategic issues, such as economic policy, technological development and the restructuring of the welfare state, without whose proper treatment, discussions about identity become an empty ideological exercise. I am aware of other contributions included in the same volume, prepared for the Portuguese presidency of the European Union on these matters. They are excellent papers, I agree with them in their main lines, and I will avoid to be redundant with their contribution. I will start with one previous question: is European identity a relevant matter in the construction of the European Union? 1. WHY EUROPEAN IDENTITY IS IMPORTANT After the creation of the euro, and the constitution of the European Central Bank, the European Union is, for all practical matters, one economy – waiting for the full integration of UK and Sweden to consolidate the union. Any reversal in the process of integration...

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