Gunnar Hökmark is writing on his blog lately on how to make Europe competitive in science and innovation. The question is if there is something in Europe that could make a difference. The smart money seems to be on a non-federal Europe which would mean that we will be different from the US and China in that respect. The motto of EU is "United in Diversity" and I guess we would have to use this concept somehow.
To me it is obvious that the Anglo-American philosophy that gave rise to capitalism and relative freedom for people also gave rise to the most prestigious universities and the best scientific crews. If you recognize the fact that biologic diversity must play out in political systems you are on the right path. There is in other words no reason for wavering on this concept despite collectivistic assaults. This means removing the socialism gradient in Europe.
How this can be possible while maintaining the EU motto is a difficult question. Because we would have to learn what diversity is healthy and which is not. In this context it is good to remember the East German experiment in a language compatible setting. The "ossies" are still not up to speed after investing €1.3tn. They only perform up to 70% of the West Germans. The societal texture has to change. Since a lot of people live outside of the traditional Western Europe this is a problem but perhaps a problem that if it can be solved would eventually make Europe competitive.
Now, if you ask me how politicians should motivate people to change it seems like laborating with Europe as a global player in competition with the US, China and India might not work. It might be easier to use the motto. Start national competitions for excellence? Europeans are good internationally in soccer. This is unfortunately counter productive for creating centers for excellence like they have in the US. Propinquity is very important in science. But who knows, perhaps a unique way of localization of science could be fruitful?
How does one remove socialism? This is of course as easy as winning the election in Sweden that is due in September.