On May 9, Europe Day, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave his speech on the vision of the EU’s future in the EP. It is significant that on the day when we remember the historic moment of making the declaration of Robert Schuman – one of the founding fathers of the EU, today a candidate for the altars – the German chancellor, who is known for wanting to subordinate the Community to German interests, spoke about the future of the EU. In his speech, he spoke about the fact that the Union should be united in diversity, but at the same time he emphasized that its future lies in even greater unification, i.e. progressive federalization under the hegemony of Germany. So what should the EU be like according to Scholz? With institutions appropriating competences that do not belong to them, deprived of unanimity on key issues such as foreign policy, security and taxes, and climate neutral.
What we heard from the mouth of the German Chancellor in the EP is not surprising. On key issues, he presented the same position that we already know from his lecture at the Charles University in Prague. His speech did not bring anything new to the debate on EU reform.
Scholz probably did not expect that his speech would be criticized by MEPs from almost all political factions, especially German politicians, including the head of the EPP, Manfred Weber, who simply said that “we don’t need any more policy speeches”. Terry Reintke, co-chairman of the European Greens, who in Germany form a coalition with the SPD, referred to Scholz’s words even more bluntly. “The image of you as a chancellor proposing solutions has unfortunately faded in recent months” – the German politician pointed out.
So, according to Scholz, the future of the EU is its progressive federalization, and although these words were not spoken literally, how else can we understand the statement that the more united the EU, the better the future? The Union in Scholz’s vision is to be reformed, led by its EU institutions, i.e. the EP, but above all the European Commission. In this context, Scholz called for the Commission to be equipped with even stronger tools to implement the infringement procedure when the rule of law and democratic values are violated. He did not add only who would assess this state of affairs. Looking at the EC’s current practices towards Poland and Hungary, it is clear that the EC often uses this tool as a form of pressure on democratically elected governments, and its actions have nothing to do with the rule of law. Similarly to the case law of the CJEU. Despite this, Scholz wants to increase the powers of the European Commission and announced that he will fight for it.
The Scholz Union is also a Union speaking with one voice. What does this mean in practice? Resignations from unanimity on matters of key importance to the EU. Scholz listed here foreign policy, security and taxation. The foreign policy imposed by Germany was brutally demonstrated by the outbreak of the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis that the entire EU is facing. The policy of making the EU energy dependent on supplies of raw materials from Russia has become a symbol of Berlin’s submissive policy towards Moscow. Ironically, however, as Scholz tried to argue, moving away from unanimity is supposed to better protect the interests of member states. Following this line of thinking, member states would get rid of the right of veto, and thus the safety valve to secure their vital interests, and in return they would have to count on building a majority coalition, and if this failed, they would in fact be at the mercy of German.
Scholz also called for the adoption of a new asylum policy before the next EP elections, and pointed out that the EU should move towards a climate-neutral Europe, setting an example to the world.
It is worth noting, however, that some of his words delivered in Strasbourg sound at least grotesque when compared to the facts. Among other things, Scholz said that the EU reacted in a united, solidarity manner to the outbreak of war in Ukraine. We all remember that it was none other than Scholz who torpedoed various types of EU decisions when it came to aid for Ukraine, the infamous symbol of which was the transfer of 5,000. old german helmets. It took the visit of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to shake the conscience of Germany, to realize that this is not the time for concrete egoism. It is also worth recalling German resistance during the arduous process of negotiating subsequent packages of EU sanctions imposed on Russia, or during the decision to send Leopard tanks. In this context, Scholz’s words about the EU’s united response to the war in Ukraine sound grotesque to say the least.
The concept of EU development presented by Scholz has been widely criticized, and thus Germany’s leadership in EU policy has been criticized, also due to the lack of a quick response to the war in Ukraine, as well as the earlier policy of closer relations with Russia. Scholz’s leadership as German chancellor was also undermined.
The peak of insolence was also the entry of Scholz himself on Twitter, in which he thanked that “78 years ago Germany and the world were liberated from the tyranny of National Socialism”. This is another example of German arrogance and impudence, as well as attempts to rewrite European history. First they said it was the Nazis who murdered during World War II, not the Germans, and now the German Chancellor thanks for liberating his country from the tyranny of National Socialism, which was born in Germany. This is yet another stage of shifting German responsibility for the outbreak and crimes of World War II, for which they have not yet settled, and have not paid reparations due to Poland. Unfortunately, we have not heard a word about this in Strasbourg.