“Digitization or death” is a lot at stake for Europe

“Digitization or death” is a lot at stake for Europe

B.so it comes to counting the results of Europe, the capital of Austria Vienna – the perfect place. The small country acts as a kind of mediator between Western and Eastern Europe. But it is also an important satellite of the South, which was particularly hard hit during the pandemic, but also received a lot of money from the European community to overcome the crisis.

It was these topics that played a crucial role at the WELT summit in Vienna. The summit between business and politics, organized by the media group Axel Springer (WELT, “Bild”) in cooperation with the Austrian real estate and trade holding Signa, was dedicated no less than the future of Europe. The old continent must find itself between the recently victorious China and the American superpower.

The focus is on the rescue package

The pandemic has increased pressure to find its own role. “The challenges for Europe are enormous. Thus, it is more important than ever to strengthen the European economy and solve current problems in dialogue, “said Rene Benko, the host leader, at the beginning of the summit.

“We can only benefit from this if we trust each other and treat each other differently,” said the head of Signa. “Small countries play a very important role in the development of Europe. For example, Austria as an engine, an engine of European development. “

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Europe is at a crossroads. From an optimist’s point of view, the EU could become one of the last bastions of freedom and democracy in an increasingly polarized world and attract the world’s brightest minds.

If, on the other hand, to follow the pessimists, a divided Europe is increasingly marginalized in the struggle for power of the big players. According to this reading, the billions that must pave the way out of the crisis will be the gateway to a union of debts and transfers that may eventually even break.

Source: Die Welt infographics

Therefore, for the participants of the WELT summit in Vienna, the question of what is happening with 750 billion euros from the EU rescue package was a crucial moment. “The 750 billion euro development fund can be the engine of European transformation.

But we must spend money transparently and wisely on climate protection or digitalisation, otherwise we will not have much effect, ”Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said at the WELT summit. He acknowledged that Europe has fought hard to save billions. “We had a tough debate about the 750 billion package, and it’s good that we’ve now reached an agreement,” Kurtz said.

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However, it is important to use the money specifically for the future of Europe. “Investments should go hand in hand with reforms in countries like Italy, where the first reforms are already underway to cut red tape, but further structural reforms are needed, for example, in the labor market.

Douglas boss Tina Mueller with conference moderator Christoph Keys

Douglas boss Tina Mueller with conference moderator Christoph Keys

Source: Marlene Gaurish / WORLD

This debate is not over yet. “The Austrian Chancellor has made it clear that he sees Germany’s duty during the current presidency of the EU Council to ensure that the debate on structural reforms continues.” We must adhere to the fact that Europe is a good place to live and defend lifestyle, ”Kurtz said.

Joint burden sharing as a “sign of trust”

The summit, which focused on Vienna for the first time, took place in special circumstances due to the Crown pandemic. For the first time, leaders of politics and business met not in person, but in cyberspace. The concept is based on the WELT economic summit created by Matthias Döpfner, CEO of Axel Springer SE.

The format was first internationalized last year and brought together European political celebrities and business giants in Paris. The summit is one of the rare opportunities for open exchange. Because participants are discussing behind closed doors.

Due to the “chat house rule”, strict confidentiality applies. So not every word needs to be put on golden scales. This gives business leaders the opportunity to address their dissatisfaction with certain decisions directly to politicians present. Politics, in turn, can seek understanding.

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Minister of Finance of France

And so the vice-president of the EU commission Margaritis Shinas offered a completely new look at the rescue package. “This is not true of the incentive package if it is distributed between those who pay and those who receive money,” said the Greek EU commissioner.

“It’s a shared burden-sharing, a sign of trust.” He promised that the Commission would ensure that the money was used wisely. “We understand our historical responsibility very well.” The economic stimulus package will make Europe an anchor of stability and common sense in times of crisis. “Europe is becoming a beacon in a world that is getting darker and darker,” Shinas said.

Twelve percent return with startups

At the summit in Vienna, Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jadwiga Emilevich expressed several ideas for the use of saving billions. First of all, she stressed the importance of investing in innovative technologies. “This money should be directed to projects of common European interest, including batteries, hydrogen and microelectronics.”

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She also had an urgent recommendation for the business leaders present to be prepared for the future: “Digitize or die”, which means “digitize or die”. Funding for new technologies is also an important point for Klaus Hommels, founder of the Lakester Risk Fund, when it comes to the future of Europe. “Everything that has been recently developed should be funded,” he said. Currently, many company founders do not receive money from banks.

Venture capitalists in Europe would not be able to raise the necessary sums on their own so quickly. “European countries need to be more involved and increase funding,” Hommels warned in a positive statement. “Germany has been investing in startups since 2005 and has never lost money. after spending. If Europe takes the money in hand, you also keep companies here. “

Anja Ettel, Philipp Vetter, Holger Zschäpitz

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