Ursula von der Leyen, Frans Timmermans -
Picture copyright NRC Handelsblad, The Netherlands

By Erwin F. Overdijk - 13. 

As we all know by now Europe has a plan called the Green Deal, which has been announced with great pride by President Mrs Ursula von der Leyen and Executive Vice President Mr. Frans Timmermans. They want Europe to be the first climate neutral continent in 2050. That sounds ambitious and it gives the impression that Mrs Ursula von der Leyen and Mr. Frans Timmermans and the entire European Union are very concerned about the climate and want to take all possible measures in the fastest way possible.

But is that so ?

Let’s analyse our current global economic system and some ideas to get this planet – starting with Europe – sustainable in the fastest way possible.

Now let’s see; we currently have an economic system based on selling as much as possible every year, companies must make more turnover and/or profit every year and countries must increase their GDP every year. Next to that Governments should earn more and for that they need more employees and departments every year. Growth of the European economy is achieved by exporting more each year and investments in other parts of the world, like in palmoil in Indonesia, soya beans in South America, construction in developing countries and so on. We have a consumer society and a garbage culture, everything that’s older than one year should be replaced and manufacturers produce products whom do not last more than 1, 2, 3 or 4 years. Billions of food and drinks are still worldwide offered and sold in plastic or wood based packaging.    

Let’s shortly go through some suggestions in the Action plan presented by President Mrs Ursula von der Leyen and Executive Vice President Mr. Frans Timmermans:

1. Proposal to support zero carbon steel-making processes by 2030

Now this is utmost interesting. A proposal to support zero-carbon steel making ?I must have missed something here ! Is it nowathesedays possible to grow steel by planting steel seeds and watering them ? And if this is not possible which calculations do you use to assure you are producing steel with zero carbon emission ?

I think it’s good they take 10 years to accomplish and study this plan more thoroughly, as it’s going to be very hard to meet and for now it doesn’t make any sence to me. This not even mentioning the fact that steel production in Europe is only around 10% of the entire global steel production and the global expected growth in production of steel is far higher in Asia and the Middle East. The entire global steel production is 2237.7 (mmt) and Europe’s steel production only covers 274 (mmt), with an expected growth in production of 4.1% for 2021. Asia has 1473 (mmt) ! production, with an expected growth of 53,1% for 2021, the middle East has a production of 67.3 (mmt) with an expected growth of 25.1% for 2021 and Africa has a production of 41.6 with growth of 44.4% for 2021.) Source:

And the proposal of Europe won't be finished in 2021 but it will be finished around 2030, when we are talking about a total growth of Asian steel production by 500% in comparison to 2018 and 2019 and even in Europe - with small growth – we are talking about a total growth of around 35-40% in steel production capacity in 2030 in comparison with 2018 - 2019 ! 

And you are going to tackle this and create zero emmision steel production in Europe ??? This while Europe is heavily investing in construction and others in foreign countries which requires loads of steel outside Europe ! One really wonders if the brains of Mrs Ursula von der Leyen and Mr Frans Timmermans are working or if they are merely specialists in selling hypocritical nonsense !

2. New EU Forest Strategy proposal by 2020

According to facts Europe has 25% of the worlds forest ! This sounds quite some doesn’t it ? However 80% of the 25% of the world’s forest in Europe is situated in the Russian Federation. Which leaves a true percentage of world forest for Europe of 5% and 20% of the world’s forest in the Russian Federation.

Now let’s look at deforestation only in the Russian federation and the countries using this wood coming from deforestation: The Russian Federation imported very low volumes of wood products relative to its production in 2014, and consumed most of its wood domestically (Table 1). The majority of EUTR-regulated products imported into the EU from the Russian Federation in 2015 were imported by Finland and Germany, followed by Italy and the United Kingdom (by value; Figure 2) and the Netherlands and Sweden (by weight; Figure 3).

Totally Europe is good for 20% of exports of deforestation in the Russian Federation, China for 27% and other Non EU for 42%. 


Not mentioning deforestation in the amazone and Indonesia, where European Banks, Chinese Banks, American Banks and global operating multinationals from these continents have huge investments in deforestation for construction, oil, gold, lithium, palm oil, wood, cobalt and many others….

So what is now exactly the plan and the proposal by 2020 for the EU forest from Mrs. Ursula von der Leyen and Mr.Frans Timmermans ? And how should this contribute to a better eco-system, while Europe is one of the main contributors to global deforestation in areas of the world whom have most forest ? We make a plan for the 5% global forest we have, while we take huge part in deforestation in parts of the world that cover 95% of forest ?

Ironically Mr Frans Timmermans is Dutch and the largest three Dutch Banks of which one was up to recently owned by the Dutch government to mention ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank are investing huge amounts in deforestation in Asia and Africa and the Amazone ! Sources: -

In other words Mrs Ursula von der Leyen and Mr Frans Timmermans keep on wasting their time and European tax money to boost their ego, while they continue to destroy the world’s most important forests ! It’s even worse they only distract us from the real problem, which is outside of Europe and caused by European investments. 

To be continued, as they have more “excellent” plans in the green deal action plan !


The European Ship of Fools - Why is the EU not working out as planned ?

The EU, which supposed to be a Union benefiting from co-operation and being a Union, has – as most have seen by now - a problem. They just don't seem to understand the word Union very well and they don't use the financial and economic advantages which comes with their synergies. The EU is like a multinational whom hasn’t setup professional strategic procurement, doesn’t have a strategic planning for the future and doesn’t use it’s huge Buying Power.

Up to now, the EU has merely proven to be a bureaucratic institution creating laws to which the various countries within the EU should comply, each by their own way. This makes the EU more a political bureaucratic headoffice filled with politicians, lawyers and judges, whom are creating laws to comply with. However what they do not have is a team of creative experts whom are specialized in change management, improving efficiency, procurement consultants whom analyse how to benefit from the synergies all the countries have and how to use their combined buying power to their advantage. 

What is missing in Europe is experts with a vision and knowledge how to achieve that together ! If you look at transport and Energy there is no such thing as a strategic planning to standardize transportation within the European Union, which is of course one of the reasons why Europe doesn’t have a Japanese Maglev train which “flies” - with speeds up to 650km an hour - from one European city to the other. Even China is doing much better on that point.

The EU also approaches finances, transport, health care, government spends, sustainability and what so ever in exactly the same way ! They don't have an EU plan for Energy, they don't have an EU plan for transport, not for finances, not for health care, not for education, not for sustainability and so on. So, No "All for one and One for All" Musketeers here !

The question is why aren't there plans to tackle synergies and using the buying power of the EU to make quicker progress, innovate quicker, reaching targets quicker, saving money, and so on ?

Actually it is the same problem of which a lot of multinationals and banks suffer. The highest ranks within the organisation are taken by (former) politicians, mba’ers with knowledge of stockmarkets, finance specialists, and lawyers. In other words, not especially a group which is loaded with creative thinking, innovative and problem solving skills, knowledge of efficiency, change management, procurement, logistics and the social skills to unite various organisations, use synergies, and of course to motivate their citizens to unite them and benefit from this positive spirit of the people whom eventually have to do the hard work !

This doesn't only negatively effects the EU economies, efficiency, productdevelopment, innovation and climate targets, but it also causes dissatisfaction among the population and a more devided Europe ! Not to mention the lack of communication to Europeans of what the hell the EU is doing for them. Populists and right wing parties are increasingly growing, EU critics are growing and the BREXIT and recent yellow vests in France and throughout Europe are a result of a dissfunctional Europe where politicians, bankers, lawyers and   judges live on their own island !

The EU currently is the perfect example of the allegory described by Plato:    

"The Ship of Fools".      

Shortly this allegory is about a captain who is a little bit deaf and he doesn’t really know how to navigate. The crew is therefore muting, and they get rid of the captain, but then the crew fights whom   will be the steering man, which again leads to chaos and eventually a sinking ship….

So what is it what the EU commission can do about that, before the population decides to get rid of the deaf captain(s) whom cannot navigate?, which will lead to even more chaos than currently caused        by the captains themselves.

Hire some real specialists in change management, procurement, innovation sustainability and communication ! And let them listen for you and help you to navigate this sinking ship of Fools !!!

copyright, Erwin Overdijk, Procurement Consultant and Change manager, owner of -



Erwin F. Overdijk