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  • Author: METRO Office EU Affairs

„Europe needs to grow up!"

Joschka Fischer talked about the future of the EU at the 2nd. Brussels Wednesday Social on 19 March 2014

The Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE), the European Movement Germany (EBD) and METRO GROUP would like increase the visibility of trade in the political and social life of Brussels. That’s why we have initiated the Brussels Wednesday Social based on the model of tried and trusted Berlin-format- the salon culture.

 The Brussels Wednesday Social, like its counterpart in Berlin, has the objective to promote dialogue between politics, business and civil society. Its second edition was opened by Mark Frese, Member of the Management Board of METRO AG. In his opening remarks, he highlighted the importance of the European Union for METRO GROUP as a company that operates globally: “We need a strong Europe. Only if Europe is united, it can make progress and compete on equal terms with other regions of the world.” Frese stressed that he wanted to see a normalisation of the situation with regard to the current Crimean crisis and praised the EU as a “stabilising factor”.

“Act right: choose Europe" – this was the title for the second Brussels Wednesday Social, a joint event hosted by METRO GROUP, the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries (BVE) and European Movement Germany (EBD) on 19 March 2014. Speaking before more than 250 guests in the run-up to the elections to the European Parliament, former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer explained his vision for Europe’s future.

„Europe needs to grow up!“

Former German Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Joschka Fischer started his speech by making it clear, that Europe is at a turning point: in the current crisis, one had the choice to return to the past or to unwaveringly continue to swim to the other shore. “Europe has to grow up”, Fischer urged. “This crisis is an ideal time to send a signal of political unity.” Fischer stressed that the EU works well wherever sovereignty has been transferred from the Member States to the European level. We must continue in this direction. In Fischer’s opinion, the Eurogroup must lead the way to greater deepening and integration.

With a view to the current events in Crimea, Fischer pointed out that it was not only about geopolitical considerations, but about a conflict of values: “19th century principles of pure power politics are set against 21st century principles: law and treaties.” When it comes to resolving the crisis, Fischer places high hopes on Chancellor Angela Merkel.  He explicitly praised the chancellor for her position in the Crimean crisis thus far and stated: “I believe Angela Merkel is really getting a feel for Europe.”

At the end of the evening, Christoph Minhoff (BVE) once again pointed out the importance of the forthcoming elections to the European Parliament in May 2014. He called on the audience to exercise their right to vote and emphasised: “Europe and its institutions are too important to be left to populists.” MEP Werner Langen summarised the evening’s main message: “The voice that has been missing in European policy in Germany – it was here tonight!”

Here you can watch a summary of the evening (in German):

METRO Office EU Affairs

Information about the author

METRO Office EU Affairs is the team in the Representative Office of METRO AG in Brussels. Brussels@metro.de