New Economic Order for the EU: Combining Competition and Fairness

Leaders from the church, the economy and politics met in the Evangelical Academy Bad Boll on the eve of the EU Summit to discuss fundamental values of the European economic order.

What fundamental values must be realized through the reform of European economic politics which is being discussed today by the heads of states and governments in Brussels? These questions were debated yesterday in the Evangelical Academy Bad Boll by leading representatives of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE), the economy and European politics. Their conclusion: competition and such values as social justice must not be played off against each other.

Thomas Wipf, President of CPCE, emphasized the necessity of reestablishing confidence in the economy. “Obviously not only the state lives from preconditions that it cannot itself establish, so too does the market economy. Without the re-establishment of confidence neither can the bank system be stabilized nor the stability of the Euro guaranteed.”

The MEP Heidi Rühle (The Greens) challenged the heads of state and governments to set signals for a more sustainable economic order. “The economic crisis has led everyone to the recognition that in the EU there is a debate about economic politics and social standards. But here there must not just be social deconstruction; there must be improvements – for example through the introduction of a minimum wage.”

“Fitness for competition and high social standards do not exclude each other”, emphasized Marcel Haag, the head of the department of the European Commission responsible for EU economic strategy. “Under the top ten of the most competitive EU states are above all those with the highest social standards.”

CPCE General Secretary Bishop Michael Bünker from Vienna stressed responsibility for the coming generation: “We must ensure that the costs of the financial and economic crisis are justly financed. It would be irresponsible to leave these debts to the future generation.”

The entrepreneur Eckart Hengstenberg presented standards for value-oriented business politics: “We must make the application of values in the hands of business visible and so comparable. It was already observed by Caesar that ’What is not appropriate does not exist.’”

Thomas Keller, Managing Director of the Deutsche Bank, and the business adviser Daniel Dietzfelbinger recalled at the conference the protestant roots of the social market economy. “Protestantism, lutheran and reformed, created the spiritual and historical situation in which the social market economy could take shape.“ The protestant churches should therefore raise their voices when the shaping of a European social market economy is involved.

The conference was organized in cooperation between the Evangelical Academy Bad Boll, the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe (CPCE) and the Working Group of Protestant Businessmen (AEU). In the framework of the conference the Revd Dr. Dieter Heidtmann was installed as study leader for economic politics and economic ethics in the Evangelical Academy Bad Boll. The 48 year old theologian previously worked in Brussels as the representative of CPCE. In this function he accompanied important EU legislation, including the EU Treaty or the new EU economic strategy “EU 2020”.

Note: This press communication is being sent out in the same terms by the Evangelical Academy Bad Boll. Please excuse any double delivery.

Bad Boll, 4th February 2011

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Zur Gemeinschaft Evangelischer Kirchen in Europa (GEKE) – Leuenberger Kirchengemeinschaft haben sich 105 protestantische Kirchen in Europa (und in Südamerika) zusammen geschlossen. Lutherische, reformierte, unierte, methodistische und vorreformatorische Kirchen gewähren einander durch ihre Zustimmung zur Leuenberger Konkordie von 1973 Kanzel- und Abendmahlsgemeinschaft. Die Anschrift lautet: GEKE-Geschäftsstelle, Severin-Schreiber-Gasse 3, A-1180 Wien, Tel.: +43.1.4791523.900, Telefax: +43.1.4791523.580, Email: office@leuenberg.eu, Internet: www.leuenberg.eu. Pressekontakt: Dipl. theol. Thomas Flügge (Bern), Tel. +41.31.37025.02, Fax .80, Mobil: +41.79.6401902, Email: t.fluegge@leuenberg.eu.

Picture: CC/Bill Jacobus

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