In Prague, Olaf Scholz formulates his vision of a “geopolitical Europe”
“When, if not now, are we going to build a sovereign Europe? Who, if not us, can protect the values of Europe? » It was with these two questions that Olaf Scholz closed, on Monday August 29, a major speech on the future of Europe, laying the foundations for a profound renewal of Germany’s European policy. Delivered at Charles University in Prague, in a Czech Republic currently president of the Council of the European Union (EU), it can be read as an echo of President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the Sorbonne in the fall of 2017. French president had never received an answer from Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Aware of the arrogant lawsuit that has often been brought against Germany over the past decade, Olaf Scholz took care to specify that he was expressing “ideas, food for thought, not ready-made German solutions”. Still, the step taken is considerable. As he had done a few days after the Russian attack in Ukraine in February, in a speech to the Bundestag which broke with seventy years of German discretion in matters of defense and foreign policy, the Chancellor freed himself on Monday from red lines observed by Germany in recent years on the European level.
Faced with the criticisms formulated in recent months, judging his support for kyiv too hesitant or his lack of strategic vision, Olaf Scholz is responding by paving the way for an enlargement of the Union towards the East, a reform of the treaties, a strengthening of European defence. For the first time, he defines the contours of a “Geopolitical Europe”.
“I am committed to the enlargement of the European Union to the countries of the Western Balkans, to Ukraine, to Moldova and, in perspective, to Georgia”, declared the German Chancellor, who considers that this enlargement to thirty or thirty-six States must go hand in hand with a reform of the Union’s decision-making, in order to gain in efficiency. He therefore pleaded for a gradual transition from the principle of unanimity to majority voting in foreign policy, “but also in other areas such as tax policy”, in other words the ability to levy taxes, an extremely sensitive subject in Germany. At the same time, he defends a reform of representativeness within the Union, in order to limit the growth of the European Parliament and the Commission.
Taking the expression of “European sovereignty” dear to the French president, Olaf Scholz supports the idea that Europeans must become “more autonomous in all areas”. The Chancellor would therefore like the Union to adopt a strategy “Made in Europe 2030”on the model of “Made in China 2025”in order to regain the competitiveness and autonomy lost by Europe in certain technologies of strategic importance, particularly in relation to China.
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