We have on many occasions sounded the alarm in Futuribles regarding the situation of France and Europe, where economies have been under par for more than 30 years now and unable to sustain the pace of innovation appropriate for developed countries in the context of the early 21st century. We have, admittedly, seen attempts to re-stimulate these economies, no doubt the most emblematic of these in the recent period being the “Lisbon Strategy”, launched in March 2000, whose main objective was to make the European Union “the most competitive, most dynamic knowledge economy in the world” by 2010. But we are now in mid-2011 and the least that can be said is that the objective is some way from being fulfilled. And, re-reading the diagnosis and recommendations of André Danzin in 1979 (Science et renaissance de l’Europe. Paris: Chotard et associés, 1979), there is reason for concern about the Old Continent’s capacity to face up to the scientific and technical challenges of the present and – most importantly – of the future.
Pierre Bonnaure has re-read the book André Danzin wrote in 1979 following a request from the European Commission that he formulate suggestions for using science and technology to re-stimulate Europe. After recalling the context of the late 1970s, Pierre Bonnaure shows here how Danzin’s findings are still topical (Europe falling behind in global competition and failing to innovate). He takes up again the various recommendations formulated at the time which, in many people’s view, still have currency (focussing on high-value-added activities, playing the card of the energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly sectors, investing in information technology and the eco-life sciences). And though some of these – particularly in the area of research organization in Europe – have been implemented in the three decades since Danzin’s work appeared, we must admit that Europeans are still awaiting the “rebirth of Europe” and, if things are left too long, it will no longer be possible to draw on these recommendations to contribute to it.