Sabine Lautenschläger: A call for Europe

Speech by Ms Sabine Lautenschläger, Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, at lecture series "Mein Europa", Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, 30 October 2019.

The views expressed in this speech are those of the speaker and not the view of the BIS.

Central bank speech  | 
31 October 2019

"I am a German and will remain a German, but I have always been a European too and have felt as such."

These are the words spoken by Konrad Adenauer in 1946, when reconciling Europe and securing peace were paramount. National arrogance and isolationism had culminated in two world wars - two world wars which had wreaked death, misery and chaos on Europe.

Adenauer's conviction had a profound influence on many people, including my parents. His core belief that "we're Europeans first and Germans second" is still a great inspiration to me today. For those who lived through the Second World War, a strong Europe, a united Europe, represented the future and the path to lasting peace.

But today some people harbour doubts about the European idea. Nationalism and populism are flaring up again and parties that are critical of the European project, or even reject it outright, are gaining ground in many countries.

This is an alarming development.