FNF Greece: The European Union – that’s us!

FNF‘s Regional Director at „Free Market Road Show“ in Athens

1480522_756558411045698_1132994680_nIs Europe’s future at stake? What are the perspectives for the Union after the May elections? Experts from the United States and Europe discussed options at the Athens stop-over of the Free Market Road Show organized by the Austrian Economics Center.

While Greek-American John E. Charalambakis, Chief Economist for the Blacksummit Financial Group Inc., joined the euroskeptic chorus comparing “Brussels” to a “monster that is eating its kids” FNF’s Regional Director for European Institutions and North America, Hans H. Stein flew the flag for a more integrated Europe. “The European Union is way more than just bureaucrats in Brussels. Yes, it is true that the European decision-making process is complicated. But what many people, especially the advocats of a stronger role of member states, tend to forget is that already today most of the time, it is the members states which have the last say on legislative proposals. There are many things for which Brussels is being blamed, when in fact the last decisions are being made in the member states’ capitals due to the powers that rest with the European Council.”[i]

In the lively debate with the mostly reform-minded and young Greek 100+ audience at Athens “Law Library of Greece” Hans Stein made the case for a strong Europe based on the principle of subsidiarity. Instead of a general rejecting of the European Union as such, he called for an ongoing assessment of policy areas the EU should engage in. “It would suit liberals well to look at the European Union in a more differentiated manner than the average Euro-sceptic”, he said. “In fields like external relations, migration, energy infrastructure, combating transnational crime and, of course, free trade, a supranational approach is most reasonable.” Liberals had always been the shapers of a more unified Europe. “This is why we have to move ahead and actively develop a Europe more concerned about its people, instead of falling victim to a reactionary model, which would rescind many accomplishments the European Union has achieved so far. A Europe of peace, freedom, and the rule of law”.

Markus Kaiser
Pictures: FNF-Europe

[i] For a detailed analysis (in German) see http://fnf-europe.org/2014/03/19/moloch-europa-moment-mal-ein-liberaler-zwischenruf/