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6. EU Forum: Importance of the European Union for the Region Remains High

The importance of the European Union for the region was the focus of the now 6th EU Forum at Hof University of Applied Sciences, which was attended by almost 50 interested visitors. Among other things, they heard presentations on the question “What does the EU actually do in Upper Franconia?” and were able to engage in discussions about the insights gained.

The 6th EU-Forum at Hof University of Applied Sciences – again and again there were interested questions about the contributions and the panel discussion; Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Prof. Dr. Peter Schäfer, who had already given Campuls-digital an interview worth reading in advance, emphasized during his thematic excursion into the EU budget that the funds contributed by the EU member states are also used in Germany: According to this, a total of around 80 million euros flow into Upper Franconia each year – again found in culture, infrastructure or even in research projects at Hof University of Applied Sciences. After all, 10 percent of the 170 billion € budget of the EU flows into research funding, 5 million of which came to Hof University of Applied Sciences since 2017.

Renke Deckarm, spokesman for the EU Commission in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, contradicted the widespread perception of the EU’s remoteness from citizens in his contribution. For example, he said, the EU’s new “Green Deal” instead emerged as a direct response to the Fridays for Future movement. “Without young people taking to the streets on Fridays, there would have been no Green Deal. They were heard.” Much of this also relied on the digitization of the administration. “The EU is spending a lot of money on the goal of making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050,” Deckarm said. But he also emphasized

The EU is never finished!”

Renke Deckarm, spokesman for the EU Commission in Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg

University strong in attracting third-party funding

Katrin Müller, project manager in the EU-funded Digital Regions project, also reported on how European regions are learning from one another and encouraged companies to use both regional and European funding for digitization. Like Deckarm, she referred to the opportunity to make your own ideas on the future of the EU heard on futureu.europa.eu until spring 2022. Stephanie Kitzing, project manager in the AKTMEL project, presented the project’s contribution to more demand-oriented public transport planning, and Julia Wohlrab, a student at Hof University of Applied Sciences, concluded with her perspective on the EU. She described the impact of EU policies in the daily life of every EU citizen and concluded:

We need a strong EU in the world!”

Julia Wohlrab

The subsequent discussion on the podium took up a variety of topics such as cross-border traffic and its importance especially in a pandemic, the marketing problem of the EU or the European exchange

Prof. Dr. Peter Schäfer and moderator Matthias Will (Frankenpost, right); Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences;

Critical questions were not neglected either: Among other things, Renke Deckarm addressed the Commission’s efforts in migration issues and expressed his opinion on the negotiation with countries of origin. The current case of attempted border crossings at the Belarusian-Polish border was discussed as well as the question of Germany’s net payments – Germany pays the most into the EU, but without the Schengen area would lose massively in foreign trade volume. Naturally, European bureaucracy was also a topic of discussion: The long routes that applications and ideas take from a region to the EU level and vice versa continues to be criticized. The consensus at the end of the discussion was nevertheless in Peter Schäfer’s words

There is no alternative to the EU – It is the most successful peace project of all time.”

Prof. Dr. Peter Schäfer

Katrin Müller
Rainer Krauß

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