EU Commissioner Hahn Says Only a United Europe Can Succeed in a Globalized World

PeopleOther ♦ Published: May 5, 2023; 15:19 ♦ (Vindobona)

On the occasion of Europe Day on May 9th, the European Commission recently organized a ceremony under the motto "Europe - Together for Democracy, Peace and Sovereignty" at the Austrian Parliament. EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn delivered a speech emphasizing the importance of Europe's global political capacity for its future success.

Europe, Together for Democracy, Peace and Sovereignty: This was the motto of a ceremony held today in the Austrian Parliament by the European Commission in the run-up to Europe Day on May 9. / Picture: © Vertretung der Europ. Kommission Österreich/APA-Fotoservice/Reither

Austrian EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn stressed that the EU must engage more strongly and confidently in global affairs, suggesting that the European Council should hold strategic meetings outside of day-to-day operations. The strength of the EU lies in finding joint solutions to historical issues that were previously unthinkable, Hahn added, citing examples such as the unprecedentedly large NextGenerationEU stimulus package and the EU's unprecedented response to Russia's war against Ukraine.

Europe often engages in self-criticism, which Hahn stated is toxic, given the many things Europe has to offer. He pointed out that Europe is among the world leaders in research and development, accounting for around one-fifth of global research and development investments, and over one-fifth of all high-level scientific publications.

To remain economically successful, diversification and risk reduction are crucial. Hahn warned that Europe must not be held hostage again as it was with Russia's energy dependence, particularly in the context of building its green and digital future. Therefore, the EU must win new suppliers, and it is necessary to expand its network beyond its current 70 trade partners.

Hahn called on Europe to strengthen its political weight on the world stage based on its economic power. The recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine was a painful wake-up call for Europe to sharpen its geopolitical profile. Hahn emphasized that Europe must begin with its immediate neighbors, noting that the future of Ukraine and the Western Balkans is European.

In addition to Hahn, the ceremony was attended by Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka, Federal Council President Günter Kovacs, Emily Usner, President of the European Youth Parliament Austria, and European Youth Delegate Fariha Khan. The event was also attended by Minister Susanne Raab, and Ministers Gerhard Karner, Norbert Totschnig, and Johannes Rauch, as well as State Secretaries Andrea Mayer and Florian Tursky, National Council and Federal Council members, 30 EU councilors from across Austria, and the diplomatic corps accredited in Vienna. The ceremony also included performances by the choir of the Federal Upper-Level Secondary School Gastein and the Windobona Quintet.

Hahn reminded the audience that all decisions made in Brussels involve the direct participation of all member states. The so-called "Brussels decisions" are, therefore, decisions made in Vienna, Paris, Berlin, Prague, Rome, and other European cities. Austria can increase its importance by actively participating in European opinion formation.

European Commission