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Defending Europe against new wave of nationalism


27 Mar 2017


Innovation & Enterprise

Frankfurt / Brussels, 25 March 2017 - The European Union is a success story for mechanical engineering. On the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, VDMA calls upon the member states to continue to work together on a European level and make the EU a viable entity for the future. The Association considers nationalism and isolationism a danger to European industry.

“Europe can rightly be proud of how far it has come after two destructive world wars. The European states also owe their economic success not least to European integration. In Germany, many jobs depend on us living in a peaceful Europe, working on the single market and paying with a common currency. We must defend the EU against this new wave of nationalism. It poses a threat to society and to the level of prosperity which we have reached,” says Thilo Brodtmann, Executive Director of the VDMA. “Despite all the successes, we now need a constructive debate about how we can make European collaboration more efficient in the future. That will mean making EU processes more transparent and more democratic. Ultimately, people will only support a European Union that they understand.”

#europeworks to send a positive message

For mechanical engineers in Germany, Europe has paramount economic importance. In the past year, exports to the 28 EU countries rose by 4.1 percent to nearly 72.5 billion euros. Of all exports (156 billion euros worth), nearly one in every two machines was exported to other EU countries. “Many companies no longer consider Germany to be their domestic market, rather it is Europe,” says VDMA President Carl Martin Welcker.

But for mechanical engineers, Europe is also very close to their heart. “Together, Europe has achieved a lot. First and foremost, most countries have had more than 70 years of continuous peace. The European Union is more than just an economic treaty, it is above all a peace project,” explains Welcker. And because of that, the mechanical engineering industry will continue to be its advocate.

Thus, in time for the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, VDMA is launching the online #europeworks campaign. “With this campaign, we want to send a strong pro-Europe signal. Europe is under threat from nationalists and populists. We want to stand up to them with a positive message,” explains Thilo Brodtmann, Executive Director of the VDMA. “It is important to send out this signal now more than ever, in order to facilitate a better relationship among nations.”

From March 25, you can find more information at