Guest blog post by Ludger Ramme, President of CEC European Managers, one of the six cross-industry European social partners, representing the managerial workforce throughout Europe.
Europe is going through turbulent times. The reaction of many Member States is to adopt individual measures, but there is no alternative to common European strategies, says Ludger Ramme.
Europe is experiencing an unprecedented moment of multiple crises that are seriously putting to test its hold. If we look at the economy, the effects of the financial crisis are still strongly perceived by workers, consumers and job-seekers, and prospects of recovery and growth are very diverse in the different regions of Europe, with disparities growing bigger. Additional strain comes from what is happening outside our common borders, at the doorstep of our continent: a massive flow of people is pushing to seek a better life in our countries, escaping from war and terrorism. The very same terrorism that has hit so hard many European countries and threatens to do the same to all the others.
To many of us, ranging from ordinary citizens to experts of European affairs, the response of our European institutions to these challenges seems to be insufficient, untimely and not inspired by the need to find common solutions. To too many, Europe no longer seems capable of adopting effective strategies to deal with these challenges: the temptation to resort to nationalistic measures focusing on an immediate advantage to the detriment of all neighbouring countries is strong, and many European governments have chosen to follow that path. The debate about the “Brexit” is definitely the biggest example of this wave of Euroscepticism that is hitting all European countries; but we should not consider the decision of many other countries to refuse to follow a common approach towards the refugee crisis as less harmful for Europe and its chances to offer credibility to its dismayed citizens.
A couple of months ago CEC European Managers, a social partner organization representing European managers, executive and high-level professionals that I preside over, asked its affiliates to participate in a survey and express their opinion on the main challenges of Europe. As one of the European social partner organizations, CEC European Managers has a long tradition of Europeanism, and has always supported the advancement of the integration process. The results of this survey, that were presented on March 10th, show that managers are rather concerned about the effects that these events, and urge for a common and strong reaction of the European institutions.
These troubled times cannot be those of autonomous initiatives by individual Member States, and the legitimate request of ensuring stability, prosperity, security and peace to Europe cannot be left to the free appreciation of single governments. The discontent of Europeans towards how Europe is playing its role of global actor shows that Europe needs reforms to be fitter for global competition and to better respond to the demands of its citizens. But these reforms need to be adopted in a spirit of true European solidarity, and in the interest of Europe as a whole – there can be no room in the future (as well as in the present) for nationalistic solutions like closing borders or adopting conflicting macro-economic policies.
The expression “Europe is at a turning point” might seem to many readers as an overused one, but the sense of urgency that the complexity of the challenges ahead imposes on us makes it more than ever fit to describe these times. I hope that the voice of European managers on how Europe should tackle its challenges will have some resonance, and will add to all those who think that the solution to Europe’s weaknesses is not less, but more Europe.Blogactiv Team