Lord Watson, Mitglied des House of Lords und Chairman der Business-Plattform Vienna–London, Vinzenz Stimpfl-Abele, Kontinental-Europa Chairman über Brexit die Türkei und Trump…
Dragana Rasic, DWC: But coming back to Europe, Europe is in change, Brexit, consent to the Turkish referendum – are European values in danger?
Vinzenz Stimpfl-Abele: I think you are asking if the European values are in danger. I think that Europe is in danger if we do not care more and more carefully about European values.
The problem of Europe as a whole in economic aspects, in cultural aspects is a problem in a lack of value. We have to be more aware of where we are coming from, because only if we know where we are coming from, we know where we are going to. This is a crucial element which is not only relevant for politics but also economy.
And convince, that problems of the European Union to a certain extend is a problem in a lack of values.
Lord Watson: Yes.
Vinzenz Stimpfl-Abele: So I think Europe wants make a turnaround, it has to find the main deficit of the whole European project. Namely a European idea, European identity. Europe focused too early and too quickly on a big area without boarders and a common currency. What really is missing is an identity every European is able to identify with- And I think as long as European politicians are ignoring this deficit that will not be able to do it.
Lord Watson: I have worked for the European Commission for four and a half years when Roy Jerkins was president. But actually Europe today is not primised on solving the key publicans people fear. They are really worried that the refugees will swamp taupe around and that they can’t deal with, with the disperancy of a single currency. Institutions can only establish relevance if it is value based. That means helping to solve the problems people face today.
Dragana Rasic, DWC: Would you say that Europe needs a fundamentally new European philosophy?
Lord Watson: Yes I think, we have run out of be original value based concept. Certainly in my own country when people realized that the Union actually meant uniformity and loss of identify they felt alienated.
Vinzenz Stimpfl-Abele: I think the problem of Europe is that we think we sacrifice the European idea on the altar of common currency and a growth regarding new member countries as quickly as possible. I think we had no strategy.
Dragana Rasic, DWC: In Thomas Jefferson, there is the beautiful sentence: Everyone of culture has two patriotic lands: his and his Europe. Would that not be an idea that could inspire many people?
Vinzenz Stimpfl-Abele: May I answer that because I think it’s very easily said. I think this is exactly the problem I mentioned before. The main problem of Europe is the fact, there was the expectation that the European idea would be raising without investing an effort in an European idea. So we have a national identification which is completely logical and absolutely natural everyone has his Fatherlands, his regional and national homeland, I think this is completely correct. But the lack of European policy was investing, taking care and developing an European identity. Every European says talking about me for me is completely clear. I am a convinced Austrian but at the same time I am proud European.
Lord Watson: Yes, I think we all live with multiple identities. In my case I was born in South Africa my parents were both British, but they were in southern Africa working for a church, my mothers parents have been in India for a hundred years. So one identity which I have in my heart is about the British diaspora, the English speaking world and that’s the part of me. When I go to South Africa or Australia, or Canada I just don’t feel to be a foreign in the same sense I do when I go to France. So that’s one identity. Another identity - I do feel European. Which has nothing to do with patriotic feelings about European Institutions. It’s actually the fact of where I am and I love the diversity of Europe. I think that we are so privileged. That you can get in an airplane and in half an hour you can be in a totally different culture.
Vinzenz Stimpfl-Abele: But you know, I think we are again back to the question of European identity. We missed developing with a market and currency and identity. Let me tell you one little thing which was very important to me, Austria came to the European Union I was in London when we needed to go for it. So I go to the Austrian Embassy and have voted and fly back on the same evening, and after it was counted off I was on the plane and you have to imagine they pilot said: I am really really proud Austria will be part of the European Union, we have voted for it and the percentage is. There was a huge applause in the plane. Everyone was very patriotic about Austria but proud about Europe. I tell you the maximum we would have now is may be patriotic about Austria. And this is not a problem of the European or British population. It is a problem of the politics done by the European Union.
Lord Watson: I think there is another identity, you know I say I have a British diaspora identity I have European identify, I also have an English identity and I have an British identity and I have an identity as a Londoner.
Vinzenz Stimpfl-Abele: We both have.
Dragana Rasic, DWC: You are multicultural?
Lord Watson: Yes, I am multicultural. That’s exactly right.
Dragana Rasic, DWC: How do you see the future of Europe?
Lord Watson: It’s going to change and its not just how Europeans change. It’s also how the world changes where we live. When you think what happens in Asia, what happens in the United States it’s all changing. And is a huge need within the next decade for people to accelerate their thinking. And to accelerate ours and we got to work much harder than we had to in the last 10 years. And the platform is a small contribution.
Vinzenz Stimpfl-Abele: It is a small contribution but one main target of this platform is being element of comminution of dialogue far beyond as we are used to it. More intense more individual more service oriented.
Lord Watson: I think that’s right.