Europe needs to get its swagger back

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Europe needs to get its swagger back. We need to stand up taller, push those shoulders out and get back a bit of our poise.

With all the coverage of economic crisis in Greece, we've forgotten some of the positive stories. Europe is an economy that's growing but you wouldn't know that from the headlines, inevitably focused on the crisis in Greece. Even though euro zone growth in the second quarter was a bit disappointing at 0.3 percent on the previous quarter, we expect domestic demand to grow at its fastest rate this year since the financial crisis – thanks to low oil prices and stronger consumption.

There's no doubt there are still plenty of challenges for Europe – not least the challenge for the younger generation who are facing much higher unemployment rates than their parents had to deal with – but there's also plenty to shout about.

Europe has been at the forefront of presenting solutions to the world's global challenges. One area in which we have pioneered has been climate change, from the adoption of renewables in Germany, to the pace of improved energy efficiency in the U.K. And many companies within Europe have embraced the circular economy, with disruptive technology acting as a catalyst to look at how products can be designed to make more of their components reusable. We have also taken advantage of the digital economy to match those who have needs with those who have unused resources to foster growth in the sharing economy. These new business models have the digital economy at their heart.

So to capture its growth potential, Europe needs to keep accelerating towards a workable digital single market. The digital single market aims to facilitate trade in goods and services across the web in the same way the single market in tourism transformed our holidays. Wouldn't it be great if you could travel between countries on the same mobile phone package? Or shop in any EU country, confident you are getting the same deal as other EU consumers? For entrepreneurs, a simpler, common set of regulations on labelling to marketing would help them to reach Europe's 500 million consumers better and more effectively.

To facilitate this, we need reliable, high-speed internet connections across Europe. Good digital infrastructure boosts growth, creates job and improves the access to learning and other facilities. According to the European Commission, connecting 10 percent more households to high-speed broadband could generate up to 1.5 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) and 20 million more jobs by 2020.

But yet we're not hearing enough of these positive stories. Of how companies in Europe have grasped new business models or how the harmonization of policy is paving the way for these businesses to grow. We're not hearing enough from the young in Europe who see and create the real opportunities from technology. Let's make sure we listen.

Rain Newton Smith is Director of Economics at the Confederation of British Industry and was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2012. Follow her on Twitter @RainNewtonSmith Follow us on Twitter: @CNBCWorld