This is the time of year across Europe when schools close down and only reopen in September. Universities are even worse, with most not restarting until October. Most Europeans have fond memories of long summers – sometimes with good weather – where week after week stretched into months without school or studies.

This has an immense knock-on effect on industry because almost all parents will schedule their vacation time around this period, and even non-parents will choose this time because it is so quiet at work and it’s the best time to enjoy the summer weather.

So from the start of July it’s common to find Europeans suggesting that a meeting can’t be arranged until September at earliest. In countries such as France, it’s common for employees to take a month or more of vacation all in one stretch, so they can be away for the whole of August. In the UK that is less common, but three-week holidays are common and there is just a sense of the continent being closed for business.

When you can’t reach anyone, or get any decisions made, or schedule any events until September, how can it be any good for the economy?

People have asked these questions before, but there is a growing acceptance that European nations have to compete more effectively with non-traditional foes, such a Brazil, India, and China. It would be unthinkable for someone in India or China to just vanish from the office and be out of contact for a month. Brazil is south of the equator, so they are in the middle of winter when Europe closes down for summer.

If you are at work and reading this blog then I’d appreciate your views. Can Europe continue this tradition of the big summer shutdown? See you in September…