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German Finance Minister wants EU Treaty Reform

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble at WDR Europaforum in Berlin

German Finance Minister wants EU Treaty Reform

08-05-2014

"Which Europe do we want?" was the topic of a conference organised by the German public broadcasting channel WDR and hosted by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Berlin today. High-ranking politicians from Germany and Europe, amongst those Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz addressed the audience. Democracy International was represented by Cora Pfafferott, who reports.

 

 

 

 

 

In view of our goal of a more democratic EU, the conference speakers rather paid lip services instead of making concrete commitments such as the convocation of a new EU convention. In this context, most importantly, German Finance Minister stated that the EU must be institutionally reformed during the next political term (i.e. after the next European elections), and that these decisions must be taken transparently. As he pointed out, there cannot be any more European integration if not supported by the citizens. Mr. Schäuble most likely knows about Art. 48 of the EU Treaty, which says that any substantial change affecting the EU requires an EU Convention. However, he did not mention the word "Convention", and also he did not go into more detail of the reform procedure. As he said, democracy is the decision of the majority and taking into account what EU citizens want when shifting competencies to the EU.

Being questioned about his main political actions once in office as EU Commission President, Martin Schulz, top candidte of the European Socialists, referred to fighting youth unemployment, tax evasion and EU bureaucracy. EU citizens must not be put under tutelage of the digital monopoly of "Google", hence there should be digital competition in Europe.

Overall, the Ukraine conflict dominated the conference. German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not talk about any other topic than the most recent developments in Ukraine and the geostratetic conflict between Russia, the EU and the United States. Angela Merkel pointed out that she does not accept the annexion of Crimea by Russia. The territorial integrity of nation states had been the doctrine since the end of the Cold War and had to be protected with all efforts.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Aleksander Kwasniewski, former President of Poland, also spoke about the crisis in Ukraine. Prime Minister of Hungary, Victor Orban, explained the audience about the reasoning of his political actions that had to focus on the nation state to safeguard Hungary's interests.

Text by Cora Pfafferott

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