What lessons can we learn from the Corona crisis for European cooperation? And what challenges does the common Europe face beyond Corona? These and many other questions from the participants were the focus of the online citizens' dialog on August 26. Katarina Barley, Member of the European Parliament and Vice President of the European Parliament, Peter Clever, Member of the Executive Board of the Confederation of German Employers' Associations, and Ulrich Silberbach, Federal Chairman of the dbb beamtenbund und tarifunion, answered the questions of almost 100 participants. The participants largely determined the content of the discussion with their questions and concerns, which they were able to contribute directly to the interactive discussion round via survey tools and voting.
When asked about their assessment of crisis management in the Corona pandemic to date, the majority of participants felt that there was room for improvement. Ulrich Silberbach expressed understanding for the criticism in this context, but also warned that there was no blueprint for such a crisis. There had already been considerable problems with coordination within the member states, which made it all the more difficult at the European level. However, this had quickly improved. There was agreement that more joint action and thus also an increase in competencies for the EU, e.g. in the area of health care and coordination, must be an important lesson from the measures taken so far.
It is also important to act economically smart within the framework of the Corona measures. Many measures, such as the extension of the short-time allowance in Germany, are correct in the short term, but cannot be used permanently. Rather, the measures taken should prioritize those that promote innovation and future viability. For many participants, the Green Deal proposed by the European Commission plays a major role here. In this context, Peter Clever added that safeguarding jobs and economic reconstruction are not at odds with the Green Deal. Rather, he said, economy and ecology must be thought of strategically together and could be mutually beneficial.
Katarina Barley made it clear in the discussion that many other issues would also have to be dealt with in the coming months. For example, the German EU Council Presidency will include the negotiations on Brexit, in which a successor agreement is to be found with Great Britain by the end of the year, and the decision on the EU budget for the coming years. In this context, efforts must be made to ensure that there are no cuts in the new EU budget in areas that are important for innovation, such as research and education. The allocation of funds to member states must also be linked to compliance with the rule of law. The planned Future Conference also remained high on the European Parliament's agenda, where it was important to ensure real participation by citizens and civil society despite Corona restrictions.
The online citizens' dialogue was moderated by Juliane Hielscher. The results of the discussion were recorded by Christine Oymann in a graphic recording, a pictorial protocol. The live stream of the event is still available on the Facebook page of the Citizens' Dialogues for those interested.
The Citizens' Dialogue is part of the nationwide Citizens' Dialogue series "Europe - We need to talk!" organized by the non-partisan Europa Union Germany with a variety of partners from politics and civil society. Further events in the series can be found at www.eud-buergerdialoge.de. Information on the German EU Council Presidency is available on the German government's website www.eu2020.de.