The European elections in May 2019 will be influential in defining the future course of Europe. Everyone who wants to be part of deciding the future development of the European Union should therefore, in our view, make use of their right to vote. Europe, after all, affects everyone. Standing up for the unity and stability of the European Union means strengthening our homeland. A strong Europe offers many benefits—not only for the TRATON GROUP as a company that researches, manufactures, and sells here, but also for our employees, our customers, and our many stakeholders, such as those in civil society and the media.
European values secure peace, democracy, and prosperity
Freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, human rights, and human dignity. The European Union and its member states aim to create a society that provides a model for change and democratic transformation throughout the world. For over 70 years, the European Community, as a union of states, has guaranteed peace on a continent that had experienced long years of war, and on which over half a billion people now live together in peace. This peace and ever-growing stability are the foundation for prosperity and growth: today Europe is not only the biggest economic area and the biggest provider of humanitarian aid in the world, but also the leading trade partner for both the USA and China.
Legally binding agreements protect the environment and the climate
Through shared, legally binding obligations such as the Paris Climate Agreement, the European Union has become the global leader in the fight against climate change and global warming. The EU has set itself three ambitious goals: reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% compared with 1990 levels, increasing the share of renewable energy to at least 27%, and increasing energy efficiency by at least 27%. The TRATON GROUP is expressly committed to the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement, which envision a climate-neutral society by the year 2050.
Diversity fosters respect
Europe Day, the European flag, and the European anthem. With shared symbols and the motto “United in diversity” in place since 2000, the European Union pays respect to the many different cultures, traditions, and languages of its 28 current member states. At the same time, it invites all of its citizens to propose laws through European citizens’ initiatives. In doing so, the European Union serves as a model for integrity and co-determination. It exemplifies values that are also at the heart of our Group’s principles.
Cohesion strengthens our position in the world
In a world that is increasingly globalized and interconnected and in which new global players are emerging, we can accomplish more together. A strong union like the EU—with its institutions the European Parliament, the European Court of Justice, and the EU Council of Ministers—not only protects its citizens against adverse effects of globalization, but also strengthens their position in international competition with more populous regions.
The internal market generates prosperity
With 28 member states, the European single market is the largest market in the world. With its four pillars—free movement of goods, free movement of persons, free movement of services, and free movement of capital—the single market enables not only cross-border, customs-free trade, but also saves costs, time, and resources. Through the common market, companies can invest and conduct cross-border research more easily in EU countries. At the same time, workers have the freedom to work in the EU country of their choice. In 2017, the EU’s GDP was 15.3 trillion euros, making it the third-largest economy in the world behind the USA and China.
The social market economy ensures equality
The European Union is committed to a social market economy with coordinated rules and laws. From the creation of new jobs through the use of subsidies in structurally disadvantaged regions, to investments in modern infrastructure: the European Union invests in the future. At the same time, the EU promotes workforce co-determination, secures occupational safety in the workplace, strengthens part-time employment, and guarantees minimum standards for annual leave and time off. Each member state must treat citizens of other member states in the same way as its own citizens with regard to employment, social benefits, and taxes. Europe therefore provides one of the most socially just societies in the world.
Free trade and a stable currency ensure low prices
The free and open trade policy of the EU, with the removal of tariffs and the establishment of free trade agreements with countries outside of the European Union, helps companies tap new sales markets and create new jobs. With every billion euros of export revenue, 14,000 jobs are created across the EU. The euro has established itself as the second-most-important currency in the world, behind the dollar. With it, Europe not only underscores its importance in the world, but also saves 30 billion euros in exchange fees annually—funds that can be put to better use in investments in infrastructure and education. At the same time, the single currency simplifies travel for Europeans, who no longer have to exchange currency. Moreover, the euro is a stable currency. Inflation has been substantially lower since its introduction than in the preceding decades. An advantage that also benefits TRATON and its brands.
Scientific exchange promotes connectivity and innovation
To be competitive globally, the exchange of knowledge and digital connectivity are indispensable. The European Union funds research projects in Europe with the “Horizon 2020” framework program. With a volume of 80 billion euros, it is the biggest funding program in the world. With “Horizon Europe,” a successor is already in place from 2021 on. For this project, the European Commission has earmarked a budget of roughly 100 billion euros. The objective: to foster joint research on future-oriented topics and global challenges in interdisciplinary and cross-border teams. With 11.6 billion euros in investments, the Volkswagen Group is the biggest industry investor in Europe’s future.
Open borders enable free travel and work
Without border controls, travel within Europe is child’s play. Travelers in the Schengen Area, which encompasses 26 member states, do not even need to show a passport when crossing borders and are not subject to any extra controls either. This enables millions of people to commute across the EU’s internal borders for work each day. Millions more enjoy uncomplicated vacation travel. In the process, the EU also protects Europeans’ rights. If a flight is overbooked or canceled, for example, or a suitcase goes missing, passengers have the right to financial compensation under EU law. Drivers also enjoy borderless mobility thanks to the EU. Driver’s licenses are recognized reciprocally, enabling drivers to drive without bureaucratic hurdles in every EU state.
Uniform education programs open up opportunities worldwide
With Europe-wide standards for the recognition of degrees and qualifications, the European Union supports all citizens’ ability to study and work in the EU country of their choice. Subsidized programs such as the “Erasmus” program send young people to study abroad so that they may discover the continent’s diversity and different cultures. Through such efforts, the EU strengthens the European ideals of cohesion and unity. And, moreover, the time spent abroad is good for one’s career. Erasmus students are twice as likely as others to find a job after graduation. One out of every three Erasmus students in a training program receives a job offer from the company in which they did their training. Other Erasmus-funded projects motivate apprentices to combine their apprenticeships with a stay abroad to gain valuable insights into the European world of work.
Engagement saves lives
Combating poverty, hunger and war—the European Union is not only the biggest provider of humanitarian aid worldwide, but also does the most development work. The EU rewards developing countries that recognize international law with customs-free access to the EU market. In the refugee crisis, too, Europe has assumed an important mediator role as an ambassador of peace.
TRATON votes for Europe
A united, viable, and internationally competitive Europe is in the fundamental interest of the TRATON GROUP. The European single market, with its coordinated rules and standards, cross-border trade, and the free movement of labor and knowledge exchange are the fundamental prerequisites of our competitiveness. The unified Europe is our home. And the European Union is our future in a world that is in a period of radical transformation. We strongly believe that cohesion and cooperation between the people and states of Europe are the indispensable foundations for peace, liberty, prosperity, and economic advancement in each and every country of the continent. Together, the European Union is greater than the sum of its parts.