LH Mikl-Leitner at the Wachau European Forum: Starting signal for an "alliance of the reasonable"

"Not a union of prohibitions and commandments, but a union of freedom, peace and competitiveness"

"We do not need a union of prohibitions and commandments, but a union of freedom, peace and competitiveness. And to achieve this, we want to build an alliance of the sensible," said Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner today, Friday, in her speech at the Wachau European Forum in Göttweig Abbey.

For the 27th time, numerous representatives from all over Europe will meet there to talk and discuss the future of the continent, this year under the title "Building a resilient, green and competitive Europe". "That is the focus of this year's Europe Forum, and that is our common goal. That is what we want to work on together here these days. Because the European Union is so important to us, it is also important to us that it develops in the right direction," said the Governor.

Almost exactly one year before the European Parliament elections, Mikl-Leitner also emphasised: "If we don't want dreamers or radicals to shake the cohesion of Europe, then the European Union must regain reason and strength." The Governor therefore advocated an "alliance of the sensible": "An alliance that reminds the European Union and all of us to refocus on the central tasks."

Mikl-Leitner set out these central tasks in four guidelines. Firstly, the competitiveness of the European Union must be strengthened, "because it is Europe's international competitiveness that determines whether we set the pace in a global world or have to follow others. We are all consuming more and more products on our continent that others produce or have even invented. However, Europe must not become a continent of consumption. Because we will not be able to live from consumption alone. And that is why we must do everything we can to ensure that Europe remains competitive against America, India and China. That is our top priority."

In addition, openness to technology must be the top priority in the common climate policy, said Mikl-Leitner, explaining: "We can only overcome the mega-challenge of climate change together with industry. We must see industry as a partner and not as an opponent in the fight against climate change. Innovations are not created in the offices of bureaucrats, but in our companies". Thirdly, the Governor emphasised the importance of better protection of the EU's external borders: "It should not be smugglers who decide who comes to Europe, but our laws." Fourthly, the European Union must "stop getting lost in details, new rules, bans and new requirements", she demanded. She cited the following examples: "We don't need EU regulations for older people on how long they can keep their driving licence. And we don't need an EU directive to protect wolves, because it is no longer the wolf that is under threat, but people's sense of security."

Governor Mikl-Leitner concluded: "These four directives will make Europe better, more comprehensible and closer to the people, and we are thus strengthening people's trust in the European Union." This is why we want to represent them at the Wachau European Forum in Göttweig and also in Brussels: "Here and now we are giving the starting signal for this alliance of the sensible!"

Other speakers this Friday will include Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, Science Minister Martin Polaschek and EU and Constitutional Affairs Minister Karoline Edtstadler. Live stream and the detailed programme online at: www.europaforum.at.