European Politics and Institutions
A stronger European model after the crisis10 May 2012
“I’ve heard very interesting arguments about Europe in decline. Some might be true. But I don’t believe we should be so pessimistic about our future, at least for the first half of this century,” said Ernest-Antoine Seillière, former president of BUSINESSEUROPE.
“I’m absolutely sure that capitalism will be strengthened by the crisis. The first half of the century will be a period of exonerating capitalism,” said Seillière.
“Everyone has come out in capitalism’s defence when it could have been in danger of collapse. But everyone leapt to the system’s defence and it was saved,” he reflected.
“Capitalism is adaptable and it’s not ideological, which allows it to overcome challenges,” said Seillière. “Even communist China has vibrant capitalism, but theirs is closer to Europe’s of the 19th Century,” he said.
“Now, for the first time in history, we have a period where there is no alternative to capitalism. Marxism has had its time. We haven’t resorted to protectionism, and globalisation is being almost institutionalised via the G8 and G20,” Seillière argued.
“Capitalism, globalisation and the threat of climate change bring countries together. Climate change is seen in Brussels as an inevitable major preoccupation of the world. This approach will lead us to a new industrial revolution, due to the obsession with saving energy,” he claimed.
“At first I was sceptical of climate change, but eventually I was very pleased that Europe’s business leaders had got behind tackling this growing threat,” the former BUSINESSEUROPE president said.
He argued that the world had a lot to be enthusiastic about in the next century: the widespread adoption of capitalism, a new industrial revolution and the spread of globalisation.
“A spirit of enterprise, capital, growth, progress and happiness will emerge from this – at least elsewhere in the world, if not in Europe,” Seillière said.
Europe will need strong leaders if it is to prosper. “Nothing will be done without leadership. In politics as in business, nothing happens without leaders. We need European leadership, without which Europe won’t be part of this new positive century that I have described,” he warned.
“The coming months and years will see the danger of Europe stepping back – and Germany will stop supporting the EU so strongly – unless we have leadership in the EU,” Seillière cautioned.
“We must react to the crisis by moving forward as a political organisation in our part of the world,” he concluded.
In this programme
Former Federal Chancellor of Austria
Senior Policy AnalystsRosa Balfour
Janis A. Emmanouilidis
Policy AnalystCorina Stratulat
Policy Analyst and Programme ExecutiveAmanda Paul
Junior Policy AnalystPaul Ivan