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Vienna, 18.12.2018 "Finanz im Dialog" with Löger/Guttenberg: A call for a united Europe

"Finanz im Dialog" with Löger/Guttenberg: A call for a united Europe

"Finanz im Dialog" series is continued by Austrian Finance Minister Löger

Vienna (OTS) - Under the heading "Brave new Europe? How can the old continent meet the challenges of global competition?", Austrian Finance Minister Hartwig Löger hosted the longstanding event series "Finanz im Dialog" on the top floor of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance.

With his guest Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, Löger discussed the future of Europe, the new strength of China, and economic-policy interests in connection with Africa. The editor-in-chief of Austrian newspaper Kurier, Martina Salomon, moderated the well-attended evening.

In his opening speech, zu Guttenberg made it clear that China in particular had skilfully taken advantage of the lack of unity in the West in order to strategically assert its economic-policy, social-policy and geopolitical interests. "Both the USA and Europe have been too focused on themselves to confront these radical changes in time," claimed the former German politician, who has lived in the USA since 2011. And yet, he believed, Europe was well positioned, and at its core it was not bad, though at the same time it needed to make better use of its strengths. "A functioning bureaucracy, the infrastructure, the healthcare system and the rule of law" were aspects which, as a European living in America, he was able to appreciate more and more.

"It cannot be that we are so distracted that we cannot recognize how we can become a collective greater force. The competition between European States currently once more appears to predominate over the concern to present a united front to the outside world," declared Löger. "We need an idea that Europe stands for. Yet in terms of programmes, there exists a lot which can also be positively used for such an idea," added Löger optimistically.

When asked about the Africa-Europe Forum which is currently taking place in Vienna, zu Guttenberg  declared: "For far too long, Europe has regarded Africa from a perspective of development-policy nostalgia, instead of recognising that China, above all, perceives huge potential in Africa in terms of power politics". There was agreement to the effect that Europe needs to lose its timidity in making known clear economic-policy interests on the African continent.

With regard to the Austrian EU Council Presidency, zu Guttenberg was full of praise: "Despite the difficult circumstances, Austria has succeeded well in proactively raising various issues. Austria has shown attitude and led from the front, implementing creative structures without taking itself too seriously in the process."

Photos of the event