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Karlheinz Kopf at the Interparliamentary Conference on SECG: Europe Needs Fairness in Fiscal Matters

Austrian Parliament, 17 September 2018

Economic Affairs Minister Schramböck Calls for the Re-Industrialisation of Europe

Vienna (PK) – Karlheinz Kopf addressed the subject matter of the Interparliamentary Conference on SECG in greater detail following the opening session. Mr. Kopf is chairing the conference, taking place in the context of the Parliamentary Dimension of Austria’s EU presidency, in his capacity as Chairman of the National Council’s Finance Committee. The mechanisms created in the wake of the financial crisis must be continually readjusted, he said, also advocating open markets and expressing criticism of current protectionist trends in a number of countries.

Federal Minister for Digitalisation and Economic Affairs Margarete Schramböck delivered the opening address. She underscored the necessity and significance of innovation and digitalisation, championing enforcement of the subsidiarity principle: “Europe must tackle the larger issues and leave micromanagement behind,” said Minister Schramböck.

Karlheinz Kopf on digitalisation: Policymaking must assuage fears and seize opportunities

Four key issues are at the centre of the conference. The first is the implementation of a fiscal policy framework for the EU. In this context, Europe must be deepened as well as simplified, said Mr. Kopf. The economic and financial crisis has shown that we lacked sufficient instruments for stabilising the macro economy. The second session on the first day centred on investments, innovation and education as drivers for a competitive Europe.

The discussions on Tuesday will engage conference participants in debating possible tools for combating tax evasion, an essential issue, stressed Mr. Kopf. We need fairness when it comes to fiscal matters, and this is a task that all of us share, a task that no one country can achieve on its own, Mr. Kopf said. Finally, the issue of digitalisation and its repercussions for employment is also on the debate agenda. According to Mr. Kopf, policymaking in this area must focus on assuaging fears and seizing opportunities.

Schramböck: We must continue to deepen the Digital Single Market and advance the development of digital skills

The motto of Austria‘s EU Council Presidency, “A Europe that Protects”, is not only to be understood in the context of security and combating illegal migration, Economic Affairs Minister Margarete Schramböck emphasised, adding that it also was relevant for ensuring prosperity and competitiveness.

Europe is still a leading trading power and the world’s largest single market, said Ms. Schramböck, highlighting the potential in Europe. But its influence is waning, she warned. In order to remain competitive on the international stage and to create the best conditions for success for the generations to come, progress must be made on innovation and digitalisation, she said.

Accordingly, Minister Schramböck called for a new European industrial policy, one that includes environmental and consumer protections, as well as one that is in line with global markets. Companies are the ones who create jobs, Ms. Schramböck stated, urging the further deepening of the Single Digital Market. However, the focus must also be on creating the best conditions, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Ms. Schramböck also stressed that the acquisition of digital competence must include everybody and expressed her concern at current developments. Consequently, promoting digital skills is a must; Austria’s dual training system can serve as a role model, she said. In this context she extended an offer of close cooperation to countries that did not have this kind of school-based and practical training system in place. (Continuation Interparliamentary Conference on SECG)

PLEASE NOTE: Photos of the conference can be found at the website of the Austrian Parliament at https://www.parlament.gv.at/ENGL/PERK/PE/EU2018/WIPOCONF/.

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