As there are growing problems like terrorism, migration and unemployment, how will the EU tackle them?
Our governments have committed themselves to find common answers for the problems of terrorism, migration and unemployment. Our policies aim at a strong European integration and strengthening particularly our security cooperation to deal with terrorism and migration.
How do you see the trade in the Euro zone?
The revival of the Euro in global trade shows that the Euro zone is based on a strong monetary union. Since a long time trade figures show clear positive trends. There is trust worldwide in the Euro and in a strong Europe. What we now need is to bring our institutions closer to the daily life of our citizens. The EU can only prosper on a long run if it gets support by the broader public in our countries.
How do you view the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU?
The withdrawal of a member state from the Union is provided under Article 50 of the EU Treaty. It depends on the country whether to remain in the EU or not. In this regard it is the choice of the United Kingdom to take such a decision.
At a time when even global market felt the shock, what will be the future of relations between the EU and the United Kingdom?
Although the UK might leave the European Union, she will stay one of our main trading partners. Taking this into consideration our markets have already found back to normalcy after a short period of uncertainty following the unexpected outcome of the Brexit referendum. In retrospect, the Brexit might provide us an opportunity for new and fresh ideas towards an even closer union. We are heading for this.
There are a lot of confusions in Nepal regarding the Brexit. How do you explain?
The Brexit as such has the potential to strengthen the European Union. Despite early negative assumptions, the situation has quickly come back to normalcy. The sooner the British will formally announce the split from the EU the better for all of us. With over 400 million populations, Europe is still the most powerful market in the world. The market is bigger than the United States and is highly competitive. Even after the British leaving the EU, the status of the EU as such will not be affected. Current trends in Europe following the Brexit show that there is an overwhelming majority of people in all EU countries who support the EU. We have witnessed at the same time that young people in the United Kingdom voted heavily in favor of the European Union. The EU will not lose but win on the long run. It is attractive for those who will be in charge in future.
How do you see the process of Brexit, will it create any economic instability in the world?
After Britain’s exit from the European Union, the EU and Britain will have to conduct their businesses in separate ways. Britain will nevertheless stay one of our closest trade partners. However, there is the need to find new agreements for trade. Britain will lose its EU status which will have an impact on mobility and trade facilities. But there are from our point of view in the EU few signs for any economic instability from the Brexit as such. Our partners can trust on strong political and economic relations with us.
Germany and France have been providing various supports to Nepal. Following the Brexit, what implications will Nepal have to face?
I don’t think the results will have major implications for Nepal so far as the European Union’s assistance is concerned. The EU has already committed financial support to Nepal till 2020. What we hear is that this will continue. Germany has constantly provided technical support and funds, recently amounting to 48 million Euros bi-annually. Our cooperation will continue. The Brexit will not affect it.
What is the future scenario for the European Union?
Young generations in Europe are in favor of the common market and open border in Europe. In recent polls such opinions were expressed by younger people in all EU countries. The British vote in favor of Brexit might have been influenced by the issue of migration, unemployment and other economic ills, which is unfortunate because there are solutions for all such problems inside the Union. Now what will happen is that many European Fintechs which so far have operated from London will have to look for other places to move. Dublin, Paris and other European cities may benefit from this. Banks and financial institutions of the European Union which are currently handling there business from London will definitely move as well.
How are Germany and France working together?
Since the Elysée bilateral treaty in 1963, our governments have strongly coordinated their policies. Consultation between us is a daily common practice.
French President Hollande and German Chancellor Merkel have jointly addressed many public events to strengthen the image of the EU. Heads of other EU member state have joined them as well. Following a short period of uncertainty after the British vote, the value of the Euro has bounced back, business has not lost trust in the Euro. Global stock markets are showing signs of recovery.
How is the position of Germany and France on the European Union ?
Both France and Germany share common positions in international affairs particularly including the future of the European Union. We often talk with one voice. To give you an example of our cooperation, we have started to open common Embassies in other countries. We will inaugurate a common Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the common months. So with these form of common Embassies abroad we will be able to work even more closely together, show joint cooperation at its best and develop more projects and ideas together.
It is of utmost importance that the younger generation supports this kind of common presentation of our goals and values in a world of global challenges and threats. The EU and its member states have to develop clear policies to offer the younger generation perspectives for secure environments, good job facilities and openness for exchange of ideas and cooperation among our societies. If we can assure that to people of our countries and make our model of Europe as attractive as possible, then the EU will have a good chance to prosper in future.
At this time South Asian countries particularly Nepal, India, Bangladesh and Bhutan are talking about connectivity. Similarly, Nepal and China are also talking about the need to enhance connectivity. How important is connectivity given the European Union’s experiences ?
With regard to South Asia, the European model could offer many positive signals. Looking at South East Asia, in the early days of communism borders of countries like Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam were closed for their neighbors. This has completely changed, trade labor and tourism among other factors unite countries nowadays. This could also work here.
Lying between two great and big economic powers, India in the South and China in the North, Nepal is in a favorable position. It can be a bridge for east and west, north and south. Nepal could be a beneficiary of its geographic position if it would open its borders for cooperation with its neighbors.
Let me say from our point of view as a European observer of the present situation, much more could be done to benefit fully from this great advantage which Nepal enjoys in this region. Besides creating a stable environment for the unity of the country, this potential once fully used is offering the best conditions for a prosperous and sustainable future of your country.