May 29th 2024

Othmar Karas visits MCI to discuss European policy and understanding of democracy

As part of the Distinguished Guest lecture series, MCI | Entrepreneurial School® was pleased to welcome Othmar Karas, first Vice-President of the European Parliament.

Othmar Karas at his visit at the MCI.

© MCI / Kiechl

The Entrepreneurial School® recently welcomed a high-ranking member of the European Parliament to Innsbruck. After an introductory lecture by Othmar Karas, a lively discussion moderated by MCI Rector Andreas Altmann with questions from the audience ensured an exciting exchange. The general topic “The future of Europe: Where is the journey heading?” enabled the guests to discuss the understanding of democracy, willingness to compromise, courage and optimism as well as determination to stand up for European values with the 1st Vice-President of the EU Parliament and ardent European.

Against the backdrop of the super election year 2024, in which around half of the world's population is called to vote, Karas emphasizes that elections are no longer synonymous with democracy everywhere: “We have countries where there are elections without choice, elections without independent media or independent judiciary, elections without candidates who could even compete against each other because they are imprisoned or even murdered.” It is therefore all the more important for EU citizens to use their right to vote in an environment that actually creates democratic conditions for an election, even though liberal democracy is being challenged and put under pressure by totalitarian tendencies, growing nationalism, polarization, division and attempts at intervention.

Furthermore, we must be aware that there are fewer eligible voters in this year's US presidential elections than in the EU elections and that it is therefore up to each and every one of us to decide what role Europe will play in the world in the future. “We must take our democratic responsibility seriously and not feel that it doesn't matter. Therefore: use your vote! and feel part of this democratic process.” As each and every one of us is part of the EU, we should also see ourselves as part of the whole - united in diversity.

On the part of the EU and EU policy, it is important to communicate, invest, reduce dependencies, keep an eye on social systems and, above all, overcome polarization: “What is good is good. What needs to be done, needs to be done", so we simply have to stick to the truth. It is essential to treat each other with respect, to listen instead of lashing out at each other and to accept challenges instead of running away.