Support for Europe—it’s in our hands! 3 分钟阅读时长
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Support for Europe—it’s in our hands!

Viktoria Steininger
Holds editorial responsibility for blog topics, is researching and writing articles. Her stories give insights into the world of the voestalpine Group.

For many centuries of our global history Europe has played a dominant role. However, the rise of new political and economic competitors in the East and West over the past decades has increasingly called Europe’s role into question. There is no doubt that, here in today’s European Union, we are faced with the shared decision of whether to respond to this challenge, or to quietly back down from the outset.

Letter from the Management Board and the Group Works Council on the European Elections

For many centuries of our global history Europe has played a dominant role. However, the rise of new political and economic competitors in the East and West over the past decades has increasingly called Europe’s role into question. There is no doubt that, here in today’s European Union, we are faced with the shared decision of whether to respond to this challenge, or to quietly back down from the outset.

If we wish to accept this challenge, it is high time to eliminate the various differences between us which have emerged in the recent past and close European ranks. In the end it all hinges on a single question: how can the political institutions, as well as industry, make Europe as a whole fit for the future over the long term, whilst at the same time taking into account national differences and special characteristics where justified, in order to develop a stable European identity amongst these conflicting priorities?

We need to approach this task openly, with the courage to embrace change, and—probably the hardest to achieve—by actively looking beyond each of our national boundaries. The goal must be to no longer regard ourselves as German, French, Swedish, Polish, Italian, or Austrian, but above all as European. However, at no point, now or in the future, does this require us to deny our histories, or our national characteristics. But in this show of strength between the old and new “global players” we must demonstrate determination and confidence, believe in a successful European future, and work consistently towards achieving this goal.

We benefit from a starting position which is stronger and more convincing than the other regions of the world: the average level of prosperity among European citizens is higher than in any other major economic region, peace and security are more stable, poverty levels are lower, and life expectancy higher.

But in the upcoming European elections we Europeans can, and must, make it clear that we support the European Union as our large and shared protective shield which is there to safeguard everything we currently view as “normal”, because now, more than ever, we need this shield as a signal of strength. Each individual country fighting for itself—even the “major players” such as Germany and France—is simply too small to stand up to the new challenges being posed by China or the USA.

And we shouldn’t forget one thing: in terms of economic standing, the EU as a whole remains on a par with these regions, and should therefore continue to be perceived as an equal partner on the global stage, especially considering the many high-tech industries and top research in a whole host of economic sectors here in Europe. As a result, and irrespective of the Silicon Valleys and Singapores of this world, the EU represents no less than a quarter of global economic output. It is up to us Europeans to ensure this remains the case.

During almost 75 years of peace, and despite all the problems and setbacks, in creating what is today’s European Union, Europe has grown together to an extent that its founding fathers could hardly have expected. As already noted, never before have Europe’s citizens had it as good economically as they do today, and never in its history has Europe enjoyed such a long period of peace. A Europe without borders, and with a shared currency in the euro, has become the new normal—perhaps a little too normal, because the fight to get this far has been hard.
However, the shared strengths and opportunities offered by Europe must be far more strongly anchored in the minds of its citizens than has been the case to date. The goal must be not only to create a common identity as a free, self-determined, and forward-looking society, but also to safeguard this society by positioning the EU as a globally competitive location for business.

Democratic Europe needs the broad-based support of its citizens if it is to develop a realistic and sustainable strategy for the future. This is something we must all work towards. It includes taking part in the European elections in particular, as a clear commitment to a common, peaceful, and humanitarian Europe.

Let’s vote on May 26, for a strong, common Europe, and against the doubters!

voestalpine
The Management Board           The Group Works Council

Viktoria Steininger