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What big companies have been created in Europe after World War II, that have not been bought or utterly defeated by American or Japanese companies?
Because of all these failures, much fanfare was made as Spotify reached a $50B market capitalization in 2020. An art company, so cute!
ASML, and perhaps more maeaningfully its parent/predecessor ASM International from 1964 is perhaps the biggest exception.
The key problem is that there are so many small countries in Europe, that any startup has to deal with too many incompatible legislation and cannot easily sell to the hole of Europe and scale. So then a larger company from a more uniform country comes and eats it up!
Talent mobility is another issue:
  • people can't generally work remotely from different countries for the same company as regular employees, only as contractors. This is because of fiscal incompatibilities across countries[ref][ref], and has become an increasing problem in the 2020's with the increase in remote work possibilities during/after COVID-19.
  • it is quite rare for people to study at university in different countries than their own, because the entry examinations are in the native language and have local history knowledge components. This also means that people from different countries don't easily recognize which are the best Universities of other countries, making you take a hit if you want to search for jobs elsewhere
So why can't Europe unify its laws?
Because the countries are still essentially walled off by languages. Europe is the perfect example of why having more than one natural language is bad for the world.
There isn't true mobility of people between countries.
You just can't go study or work in any other country (except for the UK, when it was still in the EU) without putting a huge effort into learning its language first.
Without this, there isn't enough mixing to truly make cultures more uniform, and therefore allow the laws to be more uniform.
Europe can't even unify basic things like:
  • a marriage registry
  • the mail system, parcels often getting lost and require you to contact people who may not speak English
  • the train systems:
    This year, I decided to travel from Berlin to #COP26 in Glasgow by train. The journey was expected to cover 4 trains from 4 different railway operators and to last 17 hours. I had planned for at least 30 minutes transfer time in Cologne, Brussels and London.
    Well, as you might have guessed, in reality the trip took 32 hours and I spent one extra night at a hotel in London.
Equally so, it can't force little fiscal paradises who effectively benefit from being in Europe like Ireland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Switzerland ("not European", but should that be allowed?) and Cyprus (the EU can't even maintain its territorial integrity, let alone fiscal) to not offer ridiculously low taxes and incentives which make them entry points for foreign companies to rape Europe.
For this reason, Europe will only continue to go downhill with the years, and the United Kingdom will continue to try and endosymbiose into a state of the United States (although at times it seems that it would rather endosymbiose with China instead).
Historically, this disunion is partly due to the European balance of power, whereby countries would form alliances with old enemies to prevent another country from taking over. Also linked are failed military unification attempts by Napoleon and Hitler, though we are likely better off without the latter succeeding!!! Though those also partly failed due to wider balance of power issues involving the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and USA, not only due to internal balance. Of course, none of that matters anymore after World War II, where other more unified Europe-sized potencies rose, first the USA and the Soviet Union, and then China, and now European disunion is nothing but a burden.
Evidence such as those makes it clear that the European Union is a failure.
One thing must be said in favour of Europe's mess however: it favours international collaboration in huge projects as a more neutral middle ground. This can be seen more clearly in the ITER and the fiasco that was the Superconducting Super Collider that was cancelled a couple of billion dollars in partly because it failed to attract any foreign investment, compared to the Large Hadron Collider which went on to find the Higgs boson as mentioned at