Salon Z with Prof. Dr. Martin Selmayr.

17. February 2020

Two weeks after the Brexit – What’s next for Europe?

Prof. Dr. Martin Selmayr has been the representative of the European Commission in Austria for just over 100 days. As former Head of Cabinet of Jean-Claude Juncker and Secretary General of the European Commission, he was significantly involved in the events surrounding Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.

In the first Salon Z of the year, he gave exciting insights into the background of the Brexit negotiations and his personal assessment of the future of the European Union. Among the guests were former Minister of Finance /FMA Executive Board member Edi Müller, Austria Email Managing Director Martin Hagleitner, Kommunalkredit CEO Alois Steinbichler, Donauchemie CEO James Schober, Bank99 CEO Martin Thomas, APA Managing Director Karin Thiller and about 120 other guests from business, politics and media.

What are the new challenges?

Since February 1, 2020, Great Britain is no longer a member of the European Union and the Brexit saga, which began with the referendum on June 23, 2016, has come to an end. According to Prof. Selmayr, the following challenges are of particular concern during the transition phase:

  • Europe must reorganise its relationship with the UK and find a way to move forward in a stronger, more united and democratic way.
  • Europe must redefine itself geopolitically at a time when world powers are struggling with each other for influence.
  • Europe must draw on its strengths, unite internally and solve the major future issues of digitisation and climate change together.

What can we learn from the Brexit?

The Brexit is a wake-up call for Europe. The following conclusions can be drawn from the last few months around the brexite referendum:

  • Western democracy and the supporting mechanisms behind it are becoming increasingly unclear.
  • We rely on surveys and traditional media – but the real battle of opinion is taking place elsewhere.
  • Data is the key to how messages can be used to reach your constituency in a targeted manner.

For Prof. Selmayr it is also clear that Europe must grow up and rely on its own strengths. Europe needs unity, self-confidence and a basic consensus that the EU is an important and democratic peace project. And above all, Europe needs a little more courage into the future. “We must always criticise Europe so that it can become better. But let’s remember that it can also be lost very quickly and then we are left standing in front of the wrackage. “United in diversity, that must be our guiding principle,” Selmayr said.