BRESCIA, Italy -- Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche is concerned by rising anti-EU sentiment in Europe as voting begins for the European parliament.
"The elections are more important today than they have ever been. I personally do not believe that there is any alternative to a united Europe, one which becomes even more united than in the past," Zetsche said last week after a media event here.
Zetsche admitted that the European Union faces many challenges and that there is still disparity between the fortunes of individual member states.
"We are at a point in time where hardship for the nations that need further transformation is much greater than for others that are currently more successful," he said.
At the same time, there he said are lessons to be learned from history. "Only 50 years ago everybody was talking about Germany being the sick man of Europe, but look at it today,” Zetsche said. “So things do change over time and what's needed is solidarity.”
All member countries benefit considerably from European unification and in an increasingly globalized world no country can basically survive on its own, he added.
The Daimler CEO said countries could learn from each other on a range of issues, but what was important for the longer term was a willingness to put the common European goal ahead of narrower national interests.
Zetsche is adamant that mutual support between member states within a united Europe is essential to progress. “That’s the only way Europe can play any meaningful role in the world in the future. There simply is no alternative."