Europa Forum Lech 2018: Europe needs focus on added value and a budget fit to deliver

The future of the European Union of 27 and the next long-term EU budget were at the centre of the two-day event, organised by the Municipality of Lech from 12 to 13 April 2018.

Wien (OTS) - More than 100 high-level politicians, representatives of international institution, academia and industry shared the view that Europe should stand strong, be more competitive at the global scene, keep fostering economic growth and job creation and take greater responsibilities for the safety and security of its citizens. Upon the invitation of the Mayor of Lech Ludwig Muxel participants took stock of the ongoing reflection process on the Future of Europe, paying particular attention to the financial resources needed to reach the EU’s priorities.

When opening the forum the European Commissioner in charge of budget and human resources Günther H. Oettinger pointed out that Europe should tackle new challenges such as migration and security with new resources, while continuing its support for traditional policies: “We have to set our priorities for Europe and then agree on a budget that matches our level of ambition. If we are to decide on a full EU border management system, comparable to those of the US and Canada, this would require 100 000 staff and around EUR 150 billion of funding over a period of seven years. Twice more money for research and innovation than now would allow Europe to emerge as a global leader in this area and create 650 000 jobs.”

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union stressed in his presentation: "The link between EU political priorities and our next long-term EU budget needs to be strong. I am convinced that the modernisation of the EU economy as one of them is and will be increasingly dependent on our success in the ongoing clean energy transition. Therefore, there is an imperative to strengthen our climate mainstreaming derived from the investment needed to comply with our Paris commitment. As a result, we will make sure that the EU budget is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable."

Johanes Hahn, the EU Commissioner for Enlargement Negotiations and European Neighbourhood stated: "The future EU budget must reflect our political priorities and the new pressing challenges we face, from irregular migration to insecurity. Europe's citizens deserve a Union that delivers and protects them, by exporting stability to our neighbourhood and by tackling the root causes of insecurity. But that is not a free lunch. Protecting our borders, interests and values starts far beyond the EU's physical boundaries. It means investing in our partners, with political determination and attention, but also with money supporting their socio-economic development."

Participants voiced strong support to the notion of EU added value which should be central for the EU funding. They agreed that despite the positive economic outlook, the job of all those devoted to the European project is far from being done. Many speakers pointed out that Europe lags behind on the road towards the digital economy and society, while regional and sectorial disparities keep restraining prosperity. Others emphasised the need to protect European values and the way of life and make available adequate resources for efficient defence and security actions.

Thanking for the excellent organisation of the conference, Commissioner Günther H. Oettinger welcomed the invitation of Mayor Muxel to participate in Europa Forum Lech 2019 which is planned to take place from April, 10 th – 12th next year.

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