Elke Lücke, Vice President Human Resources Development & Talent Strategy at Porsche AG, is an authority when it comes to a deep understanding of the importance of cultural values and a European identity. Having her as a speaker is a great honor for #rethinkeurope and we are proud to share her thoughts about #Europe:
In which situations do you feel particularly “European“?
To answer this question, I must ask myself: What does Europe mean to me? To me, Europe warrants freedom and democracy. For many years I have lived in different European countries and I speak several languages. Europe is my homeland and thus I do not want to limit myself to being German, but I consider myself a European citizen. Wherever I feel respected and accepted, where I can be who I am, this is where Europe is. Where one can sense the rule of law and solidarity. We are all Europe – united by diversity.
How would you explain Europe to (your) children?
For us, the post-war generation, the European idea serves as the basis for our political understanding, which has sustainably ensured peace in Europe. Nevertheless, we are facing some unfamiliar political challenges. The world is in a period of major upheaval, many of the European Union’s viewpoints and the line of argumentation need to be renegotiated. The European Union needs to reshape its architectural structure and it needs to be better prepared to face the challenges of the future, which is particularly true for its migration policy. Here, the European Union needs to further develop and to find a common solution.
It is essential to deliver this message to the European youth. It is not exclusively national interests, but it is a concept that is collectively established and further developed, which will bring success. You need to show the people how strong the role of the European Union is in each and everyone’s lives. My daughter has reached a certain age where the European Union and the international community are of importance. She went to an international school, she is going to study in England and she perceives that being international is a great opportunity.
What do you consider to be Europe’s most valuable quality in its global role?
Preserving a person’s dignity and a Europe where people’s and civil rights are upheld can only lead into one direction: greater joint responsibility and more supranational collaboration. The future’s questions are becoming more global and hence they need to be answered globally from the viewpoint of the European Union.
Which is the item that represents Europe for you?
To me, Europe is deeply human and emotional. Francois Mitterand and Helmut Kohl’s handshake in Verdun in 1984 – France and Germany’s reconciliation serving as the basis for today’s European Union – still carries great meaning for me, even after 34 years. And of course, Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, as well.
What contribution do you want to make to the development of Europe as an enterpreneur, manager or simply as a citizen?
Whoever believes that management is not connected to culture is wrong. Leaders greatly influence an organisation through their values, their behaviour, their communication style and their principles. Europe is a key issue for leaders including labour law, the discussion about working hours and places of work, as well as governmental subsidies, educational system or infrastructure. Leaders shall not only find common ground with regard to an organisation’s internal, but also its foreign political direction. Furthermore, the coordination of the refugee issue and a potential migration law for professionals need to be discussed and agreed upon. Also, leaders in international organisations seek a platform for discussion within the European Union.
What contribution does your company already make?
To provide only one example: at the end of 2019, Porsche launches the first fully-electrical sports car, called Taycan. As we know that the success of electromobility depends on a suitable and working charging infrastructure, we cooperate with Audi, BMW, Daimler and Ford in a joint venture, called Ionity. We seek to establish a European-wide charging infrastructure with 400 charging stations to help promote e-mobility in Europe.
How can #rethinkeurope help shape the future of Europe?
Europe lacks solidarity, knowledge and executive management. Those who profit from this gap are Eurosceptics, right-wing populists and extremists, and protest movements occur all over Europe. We need to prove that Europe is capable of solving problems and that it drives innovations. As of now, this is not visible.
Europe needs new leadership, ambition and more collaboration. It seems as if European politicians do not collaborate but work against each other aiming for national prestige. Moreover, many formal guidelines exist, which do not make sense.
#rethinkeurope should aim at strengthening the people’s trust in the European Union and inform its citizens which reforms and actions are necessary. This should help to transform the European Union, its institutions and policies into a more democratic, transparent and efficient organization. The citizens need to be encouraged to commonly contribute to a new Europe.
Which topics would you like to discuss in a dialogue with European economy and politics?
The most important topic is clarifying the jurisdiction between the European Union and its member states. It needs to be redefined and aligned who is responsible for foreign policy, energy policy, security policy and budgeting. Moreover, my opinion is that the selection criteria for integration need to be reconsidered. For me, strength and values are more important than size. With regard to domestic policy, the European Union needs to be closer to its citizens and challenges than to the governments of the member states. This should encourage citizens to feel more European. In many aspects, guidelines should be preferred over regulations because an overdose of legal regulations weakens the European Union. Presumably, half of the regulations would suffice. Former Federal President Roman Herzog stated that Europe needs to be reinvented, and he is right about that. Reforming the European Union and downsizing its activities is not only important for the European Union’s institutions, but for all its member states which may exert its veto power. Moreover, we should promote innovation through diversity and diversity is certainly assignable to member states.