Our commitment to Europe
Companies and millions of employees in Europe have profited for half a century from peace, freedom and economic co-operation.
For peace, freedom and prosperity
This is the foundation of our economic prosperity and quality of life. And this foundation must not be put at risk. That is why we, as an internationally operating company, are making this joint commitment – to an open, united and strong Europe!
The European Economic Community (EEC) was founded 60 years ago and represented a milestone in Europe’s economic and political integration. The consequences of two world wars had still not been eliminated at that time, our continent scarred by war and suffering. Today the Europe in which we live is a different one, a better one.
As the largest single market in the world, Europe is a heavyweight in international trade. Gross domestic product per capita has tripled in the six founding member states of the EEC. We have reached a level of personal wealth and freedom that was unimaginable just after the end of the war.
We as internationally operating companies agree: Europe brings many benefits. Now is the right moment for us to give something back.
Political and economic integration have supported and reinforced each other since the beginning. The common market was only the starting point for an ever-stronger integration of Europeans: Goods and services are traded freely today, while borders and language barriers are torn down every day. Here people meet. Here Europe is lived. Although it is important to discuss which issues the EU should devote to itself and which it leaves to the Member States – instead of always complaining about bureaucracy and regulation, we should again focus on the benefits of the Union.
These benefits of European integration are often just viewed as the normal way of things. The fact that all of this has only come about as a result of a great deal of effort is sometimes blocked out or forgotten. But in our companies, we experience the many advantages of Europe every day. Our living and working world is an international one. We want to make this visible.
We stand up for the future of Europe. This topic is and remains important for our communicative agenda. We support the social forces that work for the unity of Europe in an active and constructive manner. And we would like to call on those responsible in politics, business and society to further strengthen a united Europe and to drive it forward together. Here we would like to play our part as an internationally active company.
For peace, freedom and prosperity – for a united Europe!
15 good reasons for Europe: Why is European unity unique?
1. More money in your pocket
Thanks to the single market, EU citizens have more money in their pockets every year. The Danes are at the top with € 500 per year. The Germans save € 450 and the Dutch € 130. And even the Greeks, who have been badly hit by the crisis, have benefited from the common internal market every year since 1992, with income increases of € 70 per citizen.*
2. New jobs
Thanks to the common internal market, the EU has created 3.6 million new jobs since 1990, around 936,000 in Germany, 389,000 in the UK, 323,000 in Poland, 129,000 in the Czech Republic and 92,000 in the Netherlands. The total number of newly created jobs roughly equates to the populations of Essen, Manchester, Wroclaw, Prague and Amsterdam.*
3. Development of infrastructure
The EU is repairing roads, providing fast internet and building new day-care centres – in all EU Member States. Through the European Structural and Investment Funds, the EU is investing around € 352 billion in the economic development of the Member States between 2014 and 2020.*
4. Common climate and environmental protection
Only through cooperation in the EU have we today established tough climate and environmental standards in all 28 member states. Renewable energy is expected to account for 27 percent of total energy production by 2030 and greenhouse gas emissions to fall by 40 percent. Without the EU’s clear course, the world would not have agreed on the Paris Climate Agreement and its climate goals.*
5. Occupational safety and health
The EU protects employees. It ensures that each employee can take at least four weeks’ holiday. The maximum working time is limited to 48 hours per week. Maternity protection is also guaranteed throughout the EU with a minimum of 14 weeks.*
6. Freedom of movement
The EU allows every EU citizen to work wherever he or she wants. Degrees from studies and teaching are generally recognised. And many Europeans are making great use of this. Around 14 million EU citizens live and work in another Member State.*
7. Equal opportunities
The EU ensures more equal opportunities. For example, the EU ERASMUS programme also enables children from low income households to spend time abroad and improve their career opportunities. From 2014 to 2020, four million young Europeans are expected to take part. Since its foundation in 1987, more than nine million young people have ventured abroad.*
8. Common currency
Meanwhile, you can pay with the euro in 19 EU Member States. Tedious conversion and expensive exchange fees are a thing of the past. Taken together, the average inflation rate in the eurozone between 2010 and 2016 was only 1.26 percent, which has remained surprisingly stable even in the euro crisis.*
9. Barrier-free travel
The EU makes holidays in Europe cheaper. From June this year, additional costs for mobile phone use in other EU countries will be eliminated in all 28 member states. Even an accident while on holiday no longer results in financial ruin. Your own health insurance covers the cost throughout the EU.*
10. Cheap air travel
Thanks to the EU, air travel today is no longer the preserve of an elite. With the EU’s liberalisation of the aviation industry, ticket prices have fallen dramatically – by 41 percent between 1992 and 2000 alone. According to the German Aerospace Center, passengers pay on average between 64 and 107 euros for a plane ticket. As a result, even families on low incomes can realise their dreams of a holiday in the south.*
11. Schengen Agreement
Travelling in Europe without miles of congestion at the internal European borders and without showing passports – the Schengen Agreement of 1985 has enabled EU citizens to do precisely this.*
12. Data protection
The EU protects its citizens from data-hungry corporations. From 2018 the General Data Protection Regulation will make it easier for EU citizens to protect their personal data and to obtain information about stored data.*
13. Safe shopping on the Internet
Europe makes online shopping safer. Providers must inform the customer of any costs incurred. The customer hotline must be accessible at the basic rate, while, finally, an end has come to hidden telephone costs. If the seller does not deliver within 30 days, the customer can subsequently withdraw from the contract.*
14. Economic dynamics
Since 1957, the real GDP per capita of the six founding members of the single market, including Germany and the Netherlands, has more than tripled – mainly due to the economic dynamism of the European single market. Thanks to economic integration, the EU’s economic output is 1.7 % higher each year, which equates to around € 250 billion a year.*
And last but not least – the EU has been ensuring peace on our continent for six decades. It sounds obvious, but it isn’t: the vast majority of EU citizens have never experienced a war in their own country. This is a privilege that we cannot overestimate. Before 1945, almost every generation suffered from armed conflicts. Let us ensure that the longest peace phase in European history does not end with carelessness and selfishness.