Sunday, July 21, 2024

The European Union project remains vital to peace, prosperity and more

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European Parliament elections have made many Europeans ask what the European Union (EU) has done for them since the last election in 2019. The fact that 27 countries choose to pool their sovereignty and build an economic, social and political partnership based on the shared values of peace, justice, respect and solidarity is unique in global history. It is a triumph that we should not take for granted, especially when so many people globally still yearn for the freedom to choose their government from a diverse array of candidates and parties.

European Parliament elections have made many Europeans ask what the European Union (EU) has done for them since the last election in 2019. The fact that 27 countries choose to pool their sovereignty and build an economic, social and political partnership based on the shared values of peace, justice, respect and solidarity is unique in global history. It is a triumph that we should not take for granted, especially when so many people globally still yearn for the freedom to choose their government from a diverse array of candidates and parties.

At a time when the geopolitical ground is shifting, the global order that we helped build is being put to the test. Our greatest challenges, be it security, health, digitalization or climate change, require cooperation to address. Europe’s experience shows that we are stronger together and can succeed when we act on the three principles of unity, determination and solidarity.

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At a time when the geopolitical ground is shifting, the global order that we helped build is being put to the test. Our greatest challenges, be it security, health, digitalization or climate change, require cooperation to address. Europe’s experience shows that we are stronger together and can succeed when we act on the three principles of unity, determination and solidarity.

Our shared experience since the last elections attests to the value that the EU adds to our daily lives. When a pandemic hit, every citizen had access to life-saving vaccines and the pooling of resources had a remarkable impact.

For example, the European Central Bank (ECB) provided liquidity to protect financial systems; the European Commission’s SURE scheme helped countries protect jobs; and the European Investment Bank’s European Guarantee Fund complemented national support systems to protect SMEs and the broader business ecosystem. Even now, the Recovery and Resilience Facility is promoting reforms and investments needed to achieve a strong recovery and drive green and digital transitions.

The EU, in short, is a shining success story. Not only has it brought prosperity, peace, stability and social progress to members, it also has become a force for good in the world. It is a leading source of humanitarian aid and development finance, a strong advocate for the multilateral institutions that maintain global financial stability and a major supporter to the world’s most vulnerable countries.

I am proud of the EIB Group’s instrumental role in delivering these results. With €22 billion of paid-in capital, we have been able to mobilize more than €5 trillion in investment. This supported top-notch transportation and energy infrastructure, hospitals, schools, SMEs across the EU, highly innovative technologies and many rapidly scaling startups, contributing to green and digital transitions and reinforcing EU strategic autonomy and security.

To name just a few examples, the EIB Group has supported vaccine development with a loan to BioNTech, the company that delivered the mRNA platform against covid. We are also financing the largest solar-panel factory in Italy, the first circular-production battery gigafactory in Sweden and large offshore wind farms in the Baltic and Nordic regions.

And we have funded an innovative chip manufacturing plant in France, efforts to decarbonize heavy industry in Germany, new green hydrogen projects and infrastructure in the Iberian Peninsula, and an upgrade to Poland’s electricity-transmission network.

Since its creation in 1958, the EIB Group has financed EU policies and evolved to respond to European needs. I am convinced that we are financing technologies that will be the building blocks of an efficient net-zero economy, and which will be instrumental to accelerate digitalization and innovation.

But we are no less determined to support European agriculture, help our industries seize existing opportunities, strengthen European competitiveness and strategic autonomy, and address challenges such as housing costs. Given this track record, we will also play a role in supporting the next phase of EU enlargement and in amplifying Europe’s voice.

The turbulent five years since the last European elections show us that we need more Europe, not less. We need the EU for our security, stability and prosperity. With populists promising easy solutions and calling for less solidarity, we must remember what the EU is doing for us every day.

A new geopolitical order is emerging, and the foundation of Europe’s success is being put to the test. Our decisions at the ballot box will determine the EU’s priorities and role in the world at a crucial moment in world history.

This election is a vote of confidence in Europe and the principle of solidarity. We must strengthen the institutions that have ensured our own peace and prosperity, and which remain a beacon and a force for good in the world. Let’s defend European values. Let’s focus on what truly matters. Let’s appreciate what the EU means for security, welfare and prosperity throughout all member states. And remember the value of the vote! ©2024/project syndicate

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