UK students fail in EC intelligence contest

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The Independent Online
A German has been named Britain's most intelligent student. Frederick Paul, 22, was in the winning team at the Third Millennium Games, an EC-wide challenge to find Europe's brightest young people.

There were no Britons in the team which won the competition at the European Parliament on Saturday and only two among the 60 finalists.

Mr Paul, educated in Baden- Wurttemberg and now studying at Balliol College, Oxford, represented the UK in a five-member team from Oxford which included a Swiss and the only US finalist.

The 12 teams of five from each EC nation were regrouped into five teams of 12 and the winners were Irish, French, Dutch, Belgian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish and Greek and three Germans.

In the one million ecu ( pounds 796,000) competition, organised by three Sorbonne graduates, students used a computer model to run an imaginary European company from 1993 to 2000. The winning team achieved maximum market share, created most jobs and forged pan-European business alliances.

After the final Mr Paul, a second year politics, philosophy and economics student, said that his success was not evidence of German domination of the EC but proof of a shared European identity among the young.

'I was competing for Europe and not for Britain against Germany or for Germany against Britain,' he said. 'I think British students are lagging when it comes to appreciating the ideal of a united Europe.'

Graham Sleight, 20, from Croydon, south London, one of the British finalists, said: 'I'll start making jokes about the war later. At least the two Brits did not come last - only I did.'

Mark Falcon, 20, from York, in the second placed team, said: 'The fact that there was no British winner doesn't mean a thing. We are all Europeans, not nationals.'

Some 30,000 students at more than 400 universities, colleges and polytechnics took part. Youssef Bissada, a professor at INSEAD, the French business school at Fontainebleau, who designed the computer model, said that the winners were 'going to be the future of Europe'.