The Free Market Roadshow Declaration was presented by Federico Fernández as a united effort by European libertarian and the center-right organizations to outline their vision for the future of Europe. Liberals should stop being merely reactive and start talking about their own innovative initiatives more confidently, despite all the negative developments happening around us.
The key areas highlighted in the Declaration are: debureaucratization, taxes, innovation, cash&crypto and welfare. Each of these sections is filled with ambitious policies and innovative ideas that aim at creating a more dynamic, free and prosperous Europe.
Bureaucracy is the definition of time wasted for businesses and individuals. More E-government could unleash Europe’s potential by lifting the burden of red tape. Estonia is a role model in this regard. 99% of all public services and procedures can be accessed digitally, the only exceptions are marriages, divorces and property purchases. Companies are founded and registered online within 18 minutes, which is the world record. The point is that we are not talking about utopia here. The potential of E-government in the 21st century is huge and can be turned into real economic growth through intelligent policies. The UK is beginning to follow Estonia’s path; it is time for continental Europe to do the same.
Moving on, Federico stressed the importance of tax competition and fiscal responsibility. Again, Estonia shows that a pro-business tax code does not mean creating a tax-heaven, but rather avoiding a tax-hell. Businesses should not worry about paying taxes until they can yield real profits. This would create a more vibrant economy and incentivize foreign businesses to open shop. Thus, it is imperative that Europe does not become a tax cartel so businesses can make use of Europe’s greatest strength – its diversity.
Europe is falling behind because it doesn’t innovate. The FMRS Declaration pushes for permissionless innovation. European citizens should decide whether a new product is adopted and not EU bureaucrats. The precautionary principle has thwarted the human instinct to be creative. It places the burden of proof on the innovator and makes it almost impossible to introduce new products to the market. The fact is, changes are happening much faster than we think. Unless Europe finally adopts a pro innovation mindset, catching up to the rest of the world in this regard will become impossible. While economic dynamism is important, we cannot forget about individual freedom. The demonization of cash is a threat to liberty, as cash can be seen as the base for personal privacy and intimacy. The FMRS Declaration thus proposes the re-introduction of the 500 Euro bill and the issuance of a new 1000 Euro bill. A completely digital Europe is dangerous. Only by upholding the “cash is king” principle the independence of every European can be safeguarded.
Lastly, one of Europe’s biggest problems was addressed: its standing in the world as the “continent of welfare”. By centralizing the welfare system, the declaration aims at preventing “welfare tourism” – welfare should not become a lifestyle! Furthermore, the total collapse of the pension system needs to be prevented with the utmost urgency. What policy makers in Europe seem to ignore is that the private sector has solutions for this. The Chilean model deserves a much closer look and should serve as a roadmap to sustainable pension systems in Europe.
The presentation was just a brief outline of what is still to come. The FMRS Declaration is an ongoing project. The goal is to involve as many people as possible, expand the declaration and collect signatures from MPs and policymakers from all across Europe. It will be available to view and to sign online for everyone who wants a more dynamic, prosperous and innovative Europe.
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Das Ziel des Hayek Instituts ist das Wissen der „Österreichischen Schule der Nationalökonomie“ zu verbreiten, basierend auf diesen Lehren aktuelle Fragestellungen zu beantworten sowie liberales Denken und Handeln zu fördern.