Column on Euro­pean elec­ti­ons 2019

“It is your right, oppor­tu­nity and pri­vi­lege – go and vote!”

Insurers don't hold back in their criticism of the bureaucracy in European institutions and regulations. Nonetheless, Europe is more important than ever – especially in these times of growing separatism, protectionism and extremism.

About 400 million eligible voters have been “called on to cast their vote”, as they say. But that turn of phrase is looking at it all wrong – it is their right, opportunity and privilege!

The citizens of the European Union will elect their new parliament from Thursday this week. According to an estimate by the German Federal Statistical Office, there are in the region of 64.8 million eligible voters in Germany alone, including 33.2 million women and 31.6 million men.

Arguably one of the biggest political achievements since World War II

Issues related to demographic change, digitalisation, free trade or climate change have outgrown national governments – domestic challenges increasingly require closer cross-border cooperation. In times of growing separatism, protectionism and extremism, the European ideal, arguably one of the biggest political achievements since World War II, is more important than ever. In fact, it is indispensable.

Admittedly, that may not be the first thing you would expect to hear from an insurance manager: our sector doesn't hold back in its criticism of the bureaucracy in European institutions and regulations. In doing so, we insurers like to draw attention to the national character of our business. We rail against the regulatory burden and warn against increasing it still further. What we want is more regulatory prudence at the European level. Instead, European policymakers seem to be churning out rules for the sake of it, making it hard for companies to manage the regulatory demands placed on them.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that we unequivocally support the European ideal and the EU single market. We must defend European values and their indisputable economic benefits against any attempt to undermine them. Europe is not to be taken for granted. There are risks: Will the European parties really achieve an outcome for the common good, no matter what their differences? Will we manage to defend the European ideal and the European Union acquis against the regression to a Europe of separate nations?

Granted, not every problem in Europe is a European problem. Nonetheless, economic success, the strength and stability of the eurozone, digital progress and a uniform legal regime can only endure and evolve in a functioning community. Many insurance-related issues remain on the agenda of the European institutions: the review of the Solvency II supervisory regime and the development of sustainable investment standards, work on cross-border insurance products, the protection of consumer interests and the introduction of a digital tax.

Main political issues for the GDV in Europe

Use your right to strengthen democracy and the European project – go and vote.

Sincerely yours


Jörg von Fürstenwerth

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