"An open economy and open society are key enablers of European prosperity, wellbeing and way of life" states the Helsinki Declaration on Open Europe. The declaration was signed by the EESC Employers' Group, the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK and Finland Chamber of Commerce during the conference "An open Europe – How does it benefit us all?" on 9 October in Helsinki, Finland.
The event brought together high-level speakers representing inter alia the Finnish presidency and government, research institutes and the EESC Employers' Group. There was general agreement that an open Europe is a fundamental requirement for the EU's future strength – be it in economic or social terms.
"The European system is based on openness and we believe in it. It's challenged by other countries but we want to defend it", said Jyri Häkämies, Director General of the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK in his opening speech. "Only a strong EU can deal with global competition, uncertainty and disruption, and provide European citizens with security and wellbeing", added Jacek Krawczyk, President of the Employers' Group.
The Helsinki Declaration on Open Europe reflects this conviction. It highlights that an open EU economy requires the promotion of rules-based international trade, the enhancement of a fully functioning single market and the adoption of innovation, skills and competition as the foundation of economic development. For a strong EU, this has to be combined with an open, values-based society that defends the rule of law, advances dialogue with civil society and recognises the diversity of people.