EURO STARS: Europe’s rich stable of heritage brands can catapult their savoir-faire and appreciation for beauty into the future by using the most up-to-date materials and introducing other innovations. That’s what Lapo Elkann, founder and president of publicly traded Italia Independent Group, told a conference in Paris over the weekend, mentioning companies such Ferrari, Ducati and Hermès.

Speaking at an event billed as the first international conference on the future of Europe, organized by the think tank EuropaNova, Elkann trumpeted how the universal exhibition in Milan in 2015 is a “very important moment to show once again what Europe is and that it has a future.”

“I believe in an entrepreneurial creativity, one that has among its values and goals uniting the countries of the European Union, the old ones and the new (ones) to come,” he added. Also participating in Elkann’s round-table posing the question “Can Europe Still Inspire the World” were philosopher Richard David Precht and Thierry Breton, chief executive of IT firm Atos.

An array of political figures participated in the two-day event at the Sorbonne in Paris, including Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and French finance minister Pierre Moscovici, along with academics, business titans and a sprinkling of cultural figures such as industrial designer Philippe Starck and filmmaker Dario Argento.

Sponsors included Dior, Allianz, Total and IBM, along with Italia Independent.

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