The Core of Europe

BERLIN (Own report) – In view of the growing rivalry with China, business officials and foreign policy makers in Germany are warning against the performance of EU critical forces in the European elections in May. “Alone, no individual European country” could “play a major role” in the global competition, says Eric Schweitzer, President of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK). German companies need the EU’s single market, the “core of Europe,” as an economic foundation, to assert themselves on a global level against companies from the People’s Republic of China and the USA. Should EU critical “populists” – regardless of their political orientation – obtain more influence in the European Parliament, “the future of the German economy” would also be at risk, according to DIHK Chief Executive Martin Wansleben. Dieter Kempf, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) is pleading for business representatives to commit themselves “audibly in favor of an open Europe.” At the same time, German businesses are openly demanding that their interests be imposed within the EU – a main reason for the growth of influence of “populists” in other EU member countries.

Billions in Profits

The EU’s single market – recently described as the “core of Europe” by the President of the German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), Eric Schweitzer – is still of prime importance to German industry.[1] With “more than 21 million enterprises and 500 million consumers” it is “the world’s largest common market,” according to the Federation of German Industries (BDI).[2] Due to the absence of tariffs and other trade barriers, nearly 60 percent of German companies’ exports are being sold on that market. The Bertelsmann Foundation estimates that “from 1992 to 2012, European integration” helped to “increase the real GDP on the average by 37 billion euros annually.”[3] Germany is still the EU’s largest net contributor. However, Elmar Brok, the parting CDU MEP, presents a positive summary: “Over the past few years, we have paid a net average of twelve billion euros into the EU’s coffers,” while generating “a single market surplus of 180 billion euros” annually.[4]

Billions in Losses

Alone, No Longer Competitive

A “Fateful Year” for the German Economy

Because the German industry, without the common market, would not only be lacking the profitable foundation for its global outreach, but also the very prerequisite for competing with the USA and China in the key technologies of the future, German business circles are warning against possible electoral successes of so-called populists in the next European parliamentary elections. “Populists” serves as the catchall term for any critics and opponents of the EU in its current form, for which the common market, regardless of the reason is not perceived as the be all and end all of all things. 2019 could “go down in history books” as “a fateful year for Europe,” says the European Peoples Party’s (EPP) top candidate in the European parliamentary elections, Manfred Weber (CSU), during the “Economic Summit” of “Die Welt.” Weber was quoted saying, it “is essential that a pro-partnership majority with a disposition for compromise” wins in the EU elections.[9] According to the DIHK Chief Executive, Martin Wansleben, the month of May will decide “the future of the German economy.”[10] In view of the European elections, it is to be hoped “that the German economy can clearly formulate its interests in an EU that is functioning, more powerful and future oriented … and engage itself for the European project,” according to the evaluation of a recent poll on the attitude of German enterprises toward the EU, published by Berlin’s German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) and the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).[11]

German Contradictions

Full article: The Core of Europe (German Foreign Policy)

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