The Strategist

Is new course of Germany exacerbating discord in Europe?

03/13/2019 - 13:57

Leader of the German Christian Democrats revealed her vision of the future of Europe. It turned out that “German” Europe is different from “French”.

Jorge Royan
Jorge Royan
Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has published a program of European reforms of the ruling party in Germany. A few days earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron described his vision of the future of a united Europe.

“European centralism, European statehood, debt communitarisation, Europeanization of social systems and minimum wage are the wrong approach,” Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer wrote in a program article published in Sonntag.

The CDU leader, who replaced Angela Merkel in December 2018, agrees with the French president that “Europe should be stronger”, but believes that this should be achieved not by creating additional European organizations and institutions and not taking power from national governments for Brussels.

Calling for the “European Renaissance”, Macron proposed to create new institutions and hold a pan-European conference to reformat continental political structures. Besides, he suggested introducing a European minimum wage and create a European bank to combat climate change.

Instead of defending the “flawed status quo of today's European Union against accusations of populists,” Mrs. Kramp-Karrenbauer believes that Europe needs a strategy that would combine national and European approaches. In order for Europe to remain strong and united, “the activities of European organizations cannot claim moral superiority over the efforts and activities of national governments.”

“New Europe cannot be created without nation states,” she wrote. “They give democratic legitimacy and identity. EU members formulate and bring together their national interests at the European level. This gives Europeans considerable weight in the international arena.”

Apart from that, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer reckons that in order to urgently improve its foreign policy, the European Union should have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council and also abolish the second seat of the European Parliament in the French Strasbourg. Paris rejected both of these ideas.

In general, the new German leadre agrees with Emmanuel Macron on issues related to migration and climate change. She supports the French leader’s emphasis on enhancing the security of the EU’s external borders and believes that the Frontex European Border Agency should assume the role of border police. According to her, migrants' requests for refugee status and asylum should be checked at the borders of the Schengen zone. The European Union should create an electronic system of entry and exit from the united Europe.

As for other issues, the chairman of the Christian Democrats believes that Europe should become a leader in the fight against climate change. It is necessary to conclude a European climate protection treaty. Moreover, all Europeans should be its participants.

Speaking about relations between Berlin and Paris, it is clear that the different visions of the European future will only increase the already heavy baggage of differences.