Generations of Europeans have worked hard and long to unite our continent. We mustn’t gamble away today what they have achieved over decades.
We should explain to people why we need the European Union. As individual nations, we risk to be ground between the future great powers – China, India, Russia, the United States. Also, our prosperity depends on open borders and the single market. We are a continent with few natural resources, we need trade. Blockades will hurt all of us.
I have absolutely no doubt that the euro is good for us. This is true for Germany, too. Our companies benefit from the euro’s growing international role: 30 to 40 percent of our currency are circulating outside the euro zone. That is a good basis to be able to pay in euro all over the world.
Even more important are the political consequences. If Europe gives up the euro, it will also give up the will to find agreement. The euro is a guarantee for Europeans to work together ever more closely. In order to safeguard our common currency, we need to take the next steps in integrating further.
We need a Union in which the richer euro countries support the poorer ones. To have a Europe of millionaires in the North and poverty in the South is not going to be sustainable. Even though there are many in Germany do not want to hear this: we need a fiscal policy for all of Europe, and we need to make it stick. We must strengthen the Commission und give it more competencies. As a European government, it also needs to become more tangible.
At the same time, we have the task to see that state institutions everywhere in Europe perform on a level to allow us all to live well together. We have to combat corruption more effectively. This is just as important as proper financing instruments.
There are plenty of dangers that Europe is facing. Yet it would be a disgrace if its opponents won. We want to keep a Europe without borders. I, for one, passionately believe in our future together.
Dr. Walter Schlebusch is former CEO of Giesecke & Devrient.