Academics and Economic Experts Discussed the Risks for Europe & Chances for Europe

BKS Bank, Webster Vienna Private University and the American Chamber of Commerce invited their stakeholders, members, and customers to a thought-provoking discussion on “Risk for Europe – Chance for Europe: Brexit, Euro and Populism” with Mag. Thomas Wieser, Non-Resident Fellow, Brussels European, and Global Economic Laboratory and former Brussels based President of the Euro Working Group, Georg Svetnik, Head of Private Banking and Securities Division, BKS Bank and Univ. Prof. Dr. Johannes Pollak, Director, Webster Vienna Private University on the panel. Eric Frey, Managing Editor, Der Standard raised highly topical questions around the Eurocrisis, Brexit, and international developments shaking the very foundations of the European Union.

Brexit dominates the headlines of European politics. More than two years of negotiations and still no end in sight. The panelists agreed on the negative effects Brexit will have not only on the UK but also on the economy of the European Union. And they agree that successfully navigating the withdrawal agreement through the currently highly ideologized House of Commons is not an easy task. With or without such an agreement we stand at the beginning of negotiations over the future relationship between the UK and the EU. Is there a danger of other countries to follow?

Watching a “life experiment” teaches an important lesson to all those populists who see a withdrawal from the Union as a solution: a separation is immensely difficult and costly. Can Europe muster the energy for a new push, a new narrative showing the importance of the integration project? While all agreed that this is necessary, the panelists also recognized the lack of political leadership. Does Europe need a new start?

No doubt – and this can only be achieved by potentially scaling back integration in areas that can better be managed by the member states themselves, but at the same time it means a deepening in those areas that demand a joint political effort. Is Europe today better prepared for a slowing down of the economy? Yes it is, but Italy is anxiously watched since its economy poses a different challenge than the Greek one did some years ago.

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Photo Copyright © Katharina Schiffl