EU Commissioner calls for stronger global engagement on Europe Day.

08 May 2023

The European Commission marked up and coming Europe Day, due to take place May 9th, with a ceremony titled "Europe - Together for Democracy, Peace and Sovereignty" at the Austrian Parliament. EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn delivered a speech highlighting Europe's global political capacity as essential to its future success.

Hahn emphasized that the EU must engage more confidently and actively in global affairs, suggesting strategic meetings for the European Council outside of day-to-day operations. He cited examples such as the EU's response to Russia's war against Ukraine and the NextGenerationEU stimulus package as demonstrations of the strength of the EU in finding joint solutions to historical issues.

According to Hahn, Europe's tendency towards self-criticism is detrimental, given its significant contributions to research and development, accounting for one-fifth of global investment and high-level scientific publications. However, he also noted the need for diversification and risk reduction to remain economically successful, warning against dependence on a limited number of suppliers and emphasizing the importance of expanding the EU's network of trade partners.

Hahn called on Europe to use its economic power to strengthen its political weight on the world stage, citing the recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine as a wake-up call for Europe to sharpen its geopolitical profile. He stressed that the EU must start by focusing on its immediate neighbours, particularly Ukraine and the Western Balkans.

Several dignitaries, including Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka, and Federal Council President Günter Kovacs, attended the ceremony. Hahn reminded the audience that all EU decisions involve the participation of all member states, and therefore, Austria could increase its importance by actively participating in European opinion formation.