Karoline Edtstadler, Austrian Federal Minister for EU and Constitution, explains in a MCI guest lecture how Europe can become better considering current challenges such as migration, digitalization and disinformation.
Karoline Edtstadler has been Federal Minister for the EU and the Constitution since 2020. With her many years of expertise as a legal expert and member of the European Parliament, she identifies ways to create a united and unified Europe and to overcome present and future challenges with confidence as a basic prerequisite.
Awaken new enthusiasmGeopolitical distortions and dissension within the EU do not exactly contribute to a positive connotation of the European idea among the population. Karoline Edtstadler considers the greatest challenges to be the completion of the domestic market and making Europe attractive again. As a roadmap through the crises, it would be advisable to find solutions together with the future members of the EU: "We must bring the heads of the countries and governments of the EU accession candidates to the table in order to spread the euphoria for Europe”. This would also include continuing intensive dialogs with citizens in the context of a future conference for the co-design of a worth-living European Union.
Manage migrationMigration is not a simple matter and migration policy must first and foremost be about communication. Therefore, she says, it is necessary to help those who need help and where they need it, specifically: to make a commitment to help locally and to support aid organizations in crisis areas. Edtstadler also emphasizes that a classic path of legal migration is vital, because integration can only go as far as a certain degree if a general overload is to be avoided, especially in terms of capacity: "We need a common asylum system, we need a European solution. All those whom we desperately and urgently need should be able to arrive without major hurdles and find what they need here."
Promote cohesionKaroline Edtstadler evaluates the partially lacking social cohesion, which differs from member state to member state, as a security risk: especially with regard to social issues and the extension of Europe as a business location, it will be necessary to utilize new technologies in the future. She sees a responsibility for all those involved in the economy and society to establish social standards and to further develop technology - the most important credo being: "We can only make Europe better if we try to understand each other, if we listen to each other".
Create balanceSince COVID, social problems have intensified massively, which, according to Edtstadler, requires politics to be strongly oriented toward people’s needs. However, one should not generate the expectation that everything will run quickly and perfectly, because that will not work. Above all, it is crucial that we try to prevent the social gap from widening too much. In this context, everyone in the EU must have the same access to information.
Counteract disinformationIt is important to take advantage of the accelerating pace of digitization, but at the same time to contain the negative aspects. Edtstadler calls for new, far-reaching regulations to counteract hate postings and increasing targeted misinformation and thus the polarization of society. Until now, the problem potential has been underestimated. While the need for more cooperation between science & politics has been acknowledged, technologies have been faster so far, i.e. those who want evil with technologies are always 2 steps ahead of us. Here we need support from research.
Involve scienceScience and universities can certainly do a lot, but above all they can raise awareness: "We need a lot more knowledge about how technology can be used improperly. We just need that other perspective." Moreover, it is up to academic institutions to research intellectual disruptions so that they can respond to negative changes in a timely manner. According to Karoline Edtstadler, the Entrepreneurial School® makes an important contribution here since the areas of business, technology and social affairs, which are embedded in its educational focus, will make up the future of Europe.