Germany Backs Macron ‘EU Renewal’ Call but Critics Say It ‘Comes Short’
Germany has not done enough to support Macron’s EU reform agenda, according to some critics.
Germany’s government and leading politicians have mostly reacted positively to French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for “renewal” of the European Union, though some critics have suggested that Berlin is not doing enough to back his initiative.
In his op-ed published in all 28 EU member states, Macron raised alarm of the need to protect the EU ahead of the May 2019 European Parliament elections, and urged innovative reforms such as setting up a “European Agency for the Protection of Democracies”.
With Germany and France (sometimes referred to as Franco-Germany) having historically played the role of the leading engines of EU integration, Macron’s call for a renaissance of the EU has resonated with German political leaders.
“It’s important ahead of the European election (in May) for pro-European forces to present their ideas. The German government supports the lively discussion about the orientation of the European Union,” a spokesperson said in an official statement by Angela Merkel’s government, as cited by Reuters and DW.
“Dear Emmanuel Macron, thank you for this initiative. We need to come together as Europeans and make Europe strong,” tweeted in French Katharina Barley, the leading EU elections candidate of the Germany Social Democratic Party (SPD), who is both a German and UK citizen.
“Macron stresses Europe’s commonalities, significance and strength. Strong partners and friends are crucial for a European renaissance. [This is] an important initiative for necessary reforms to combat scaremongers on the right and left,” said in a tweet the leading candidate of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), Nicola Beer.
However, some of the German politicians declaring support for Macron’s call have also criticized Germany’s leadership for failing to do enough to set in motion the reform agenda of the French President, or just to take the lead in reforming the EU to ensure its greater role.
“We need more Europe in the right places rather than less. We need to stand up more for Europe, the source of our freedom, security and prosperity. Macron has shown the way. How about some proposals now from Germany?” tweeted Norbert Röttgen, the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the German Bundestag (Parliament), a member of Merkel’s conservative CDU party.
“Macron is right. Europe has to go back to being more than a soulless common market. Hopefully this time the German government will finally support his proposals,” Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s former Foreign Minister, from the SPD party, said on Twitter.
“Above all this is an instance of Germany coming up short and not of France going it alone,” tweeted the speaker of the Greens in the European Parliament, Sven Giegold.
Macron’s address was expectedly met with opposition by Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which is seemingly among the leading populist formations in Europe whose rising popularity has caused the alarm of the French President.
“It’s not nationalists who endanger Europe but the EU’s relentless mania for control and bureaucracy,” tweeted AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland
“Concerning Macron’s demand for a Europe-wide basic level of social security, it’s clear who will pay: Germany. We don’t need constant suggestions about how to expand the EU, but how to scale it back to its sensible core as an economic union. Then Mr. Macron will finally have time again to solve France’s problems,” Gauland added in a statement later.
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