Press Releases 2011
Press Release

What’s Now Important for Europe: Friedrich Merz in the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s Lecture Series

  • "Europe’s future will be decided on in the coming weeks"
  • "The worst of the financial crisis is yet to come"

Stuttgart, November 18, 2011 - Friedrich Merz, attorney and partner at Mayer Brown LLP and Chairman of the Atlantik-Brücke e.V. association spoke in Stuttgart as part of the Robert Bosch Stiftung’s lecture series entitled "Responsibility for the Future." His lecture was entitled "What’s Now Important for Europe."

Friedrich Merz warned the European Union of falling back into old, nationalistic political patterns and giving up on Europe as a whole. "Mistakes in Greece, Portugal, Spain, and Italy are not simply national mistakes made by others: they affect us all." Merz also views national bankruptcies as a beneficial experience - now Europe just needs to draw the right conclusions. For the past 35 years, Western countries have lived beyond their means and spent more money than their economic productivity generated. "It is not a euro crisis, and it is not a dollar crisis - what we actually have is a European and American national-debt crisis," said Merz. "Our Western way of life is now being tested."

Merz declared that a main reason for this crisis was Europe not having a collective economic and labor market policy. In addition to multi-billion-euro aid programs and restructuring packages, Europe should also consider the possibility of temporarily allowing a member state to withdraw from the currency union. In this context, Merz stated: "If we are going to discuss changing the European treaties, we also need to discuss whether we even should adhere to the old ones." The financial expert suggested creating an institution in Brussels that would monitor member states’ budget discipline. This crisis needs to be used as an occasion to once again start paying attention to the relationship between output and consumption. According to Merz, it is now time to start thinking critically about correcting public budgets.

Audio

Recording of the lecture given by Friedrich Merz - introduction by Dieter Berg, Chairman of the Board of Management for the Robert Bosch Stiftung

Contact

Michael Herm
Phone: +49 (0)711 46084-29