It’s time to think about the future of the European economy – not just that of the European Union, which is a recent political concept and currently is under strain. Rather, let’s think of the whole continent, including of course the UK, but also crucially Russia. Remember, too, that Europe’s largest city is Istanbul, for Europe stops at the Bosporus as well as the Urals.

There are of course huge differences of language, culture and politics, but every continent encompasses huge differences. And as anyone who travels much across the continent will appreciate, there is a certain commonality in the way people live, talk and eat that sets Europe apart from the Americas, Asia or Africa. And most of us have, by world standards, a pretty good life.

There lies the challenge facing all of us over the next few decades. How do we maintain and improve both our living standards and our quality of life in an increasingly competitive world, and without imposing too heavy an environmental footprint?

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