The challenges of globalisation and the importance of regional funding are essential elements in creating prosperity within the European Union, Germany’s ambassador to Britain said in Cardiff today.
Addressing the last meeting of the Cardiff Business Club in its centenary season, Georg Boomgaarden said regional funds bring business and prosperity through job creation.
“German growth is less than expected,” he said. “Some of our neighbours are in crisis but the challenge for Europe remains one of working together.”
Mr Boomgaarden said Germany had made a good recovery and was on track again to face the challenge of globalisation, but coping with that challenge could only be done together with other members of the EU.
“Europe is a peace project in which we have to pool sovereignty to move it along,” he said.
He added: “ I don’t like the word Euro crisis. Its outcome has to lie with the policies of each country”
All countries, he said, have benefited enormously from European integration.
Without going into the role of the financial sector in generating the financial crisis which hit not only Europe but all countries in the world, he pointed out that to restore order sacrifices would be necessary and beneficial.
In achieving this he said patience was necessary. “As we have learned in Germany it took 10 years for the reforms to have a beneficial effect.”
He added: “Germany is an economic heavyweight which looks for co-operation with the UK and our other neighbours. There is goodwill on the part of the British Government to do this which has been borne out by the recent meeting between the Prime Minister and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.”
Mr Boomgaarden said the countries’ close co-operation in Afghanistan was a case in point.
On the question of EU reform the ambassador said the member nations were doing their best to tackle this.
David Cameron has said he wants to repatriate powers from Brussels, which has lead to criticism within Europe that Britain cannot pick and choose which aspects of the EU project it supports.
Mr Boomgaarden said: “I am not pessimistic. There is a division between responsibility and solidarity. If you want common solidarity on the common expenditure then you must have common decision making.
“But we must remember national parliaments cannot decide on the national expenditure of nations.”
On the question of debt the ambassador said Germany believed this should not be placed on future generations. Instead the need should be to generate growth and sustainable social systems.
Mr Boomgaarden said: “The problems arising from events in Syria are a challenge to our foreign policy, which raises the everyday issues of what can we do to help sort it out.
“We are deeply involved in the Middle East peace process along with African and Latin American issues which were addressed in the recent G7 and G8 meetings.”
Of the North Korean crisis he added: “Recently we have had the North Korean problem, all of which brings us closer together. So what we have to decide, we have to decide together.”
Mr Boomgaarden added: “Germany has a huge investment in the UK and there is still a chance for this to grow, so let’s grow it together.”