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Access key to Europe's development on the world stage

FedEx studies reveal Europe is in a strong position to take advantage of global opportunities but must keep investing in key areas like infrastructure, telecommunications and education to remain competitive

Paris - June 6, 2007 - At an event hosted by FedEx today in Paris, a panel of distinguished commentators from industry, research and finance shared their perspectives on how Access – the means of interaction and exchange among people, businesses and nations – can help Europe maintain and improve its important position on the global stage.  In front of an audience made up of key figures from European academia, government and business, Sir Digby Jones (former director-general of the Confederation of British Industries), Zaki Laïdi (senior research fellow, Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales) and Professor Dr. Norbert Walter (chief economist, Deutsche Bank Group) joined a notable group of thought leaders tapped over the past year by FedEx to provide analysis and share insights on how increased Access is transforming how businesses compete, people live and nations prosper.

The discussion was fueled by the findings of recent studies conducted by SRI International to look specifically at the impact of Access on France, Germany and the United Kingdom.  FedEx commissioned the market-specific studies following the results of the landmark SRI International study, “The Power of Access,” also commissioned by FedEx, released last year.  According to the original study, 11 of the top 15 countries – out of 75 countries ranked – found to benefit from the greatest amount of Access are located in Europe, nine of which are members of the European Union. 

  “For the last half century Europe has been at the epicenter of Access,” said Robert W. Elliott, President, Europe, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa Region, FedEx Express. “Through the sustained efforts of its governments, businesses and individuals, the European Union is the world’s largest trading bloc, the largest provider of humanitarian aid and is a living testament to the power of Access.  The studies released today measure how Access

creates opportunities for individuals, businesses and nations to make choices, participate and ultimately improve the quality of life in France, Germany and the United Kingdom.”

Topics touched upon during today’s discussion included the critical importance of energy security, technology advancement and improvements to infrastructure.  Discussion centered on key findings from the SRI International studies, many of which relate directly to current news and issues in each market.  Some examples include:

  • Sophisticated transportation and high-tech telecommunications infrastructures along with strong international relations contribute to France’s overall high ranking in the Access study (ranked 10th). However opportunities for the nation as a whole lie in providing more employment and education options for its youth.  As the newly elected government is focused on improving “access,” which has become a key element of its political platform, France looks to strengthen its socioeconomic development and its market position on the global stage.
  • Businesses in Germany (ranked 7th overall in the Power of Access study) take more advantage of the opportunities generated by access than in any of the other 74 countries examined in this research – from facilitating innovation to strengthening supply chains to expanding market reach. However, challenges with unemployment reduce the level of empowerment enjoyed by some of Germany’s citizens.
  • The report shows that people in the United Kingdom (ranked 9th overall in the Power of Access study) have benefited greatly from high levels of education and ample employment opportunities. Both of these topics feature heavily on the political agenda as the government leadership changes. The report also highlights that UK businesses derive tremendous benefits from smooth flows of trade and investment but could increase their level of access by maximizing air transportation as a means of shipping merchandise.

Details of this timely debate, as well as background on “The Power of Access” study and copies of the reports will be made available on http://access.fedex.com.

About FedEx Express

FedEx Express is the world's largest express transportation company, providing fast and reliable delivery to every U.S. address and to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx Express uses a global air-and-ground network to speed delivery of time-sensitive shipments, by a definite time and date with a money-back guarantee.

About FedEx Corporation

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $35 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world's most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 275,000 employees and contractors to remain “absolutely, positively” focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. For more information, visit www.fedex.com.

About SRI International

Silicon Valley-based SRI International (www.sri.com) is one of the world’s leading independent research and technology development organizations. Founded as Stanford Research Institute in 1946, SRI has been meeting the strategic needs of clients for more than 60 years. The nonprofit research institute performs client-sponsored research and development for government agencies, commercial businesses, and private foundations. In addition to conducting contract R&D, SRI licenses its technologies, forms strategic partnerships, and creates spin-off companies.

About SRI's Center for Science, Technology and Economic Development

Based in Washington D.C., the Center for Science, Technology, and Economic Development assists private- and public-sector clients in finding solutions to an array of economic issues, ranging from building stronger economic foundations to introducing high-technology industries, promoting innovation, and improving competitiveness. The Center's economists specialize in industry cluster development, benchmarking, "measuring the immeasurable," and economic assessments and strategies.

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