Europe Day is an opportunity for grand, symbolic gestures and inspiring, new impulses. But in Strasbourg, Chancellor Olaf Scholz remained hesitant and vagueduring his speech in parliament yesterday. Read Markus Grabitz’s analysis to find out which ideas from the coalition agreement between the two parties Scholz fell short of.
Tomorrow’s parliamentary vote on the AI Act, on the other hand, will be about the thicket of details in regular legislation. Members of Parliament will have to fight their way through 3312 amendments. Corinna Visser outlines the most important lines of conflict.
In today’s News, I explain why Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck’s push for an industrial electricity price could be thwarted by the Council Presidency’s latest compromise proposal on the electricity market reform.
Last but not least, Europe’s identity is the subject of André Wilkens & Paweł Zerka’s Opinion. In dealing with Russian citizens and Russian culture, Europe must emphasize its pluralistic culture and thus confirm its self-image and image in the world, the authors write.
Your Manuel Berkel
Scholz earns little applause for speech in European Parliament
Each of the heads of state and government from the 27 member states is invited once to present their plans for the future of the EU to the European Parliament. On Europe Day, it was Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s turn. In the ensuing debate, he was criticized for despondency and a lack of initiatives.
Olaf Scholz must have noticed how disappointed many members of parliament were with his speech. At the end of the hour-long debate that followed, in which he was criticized across party lines for lacking courage and initiative, the chancellor took the floor once again. He seemed transformed. Whereas in his actual speech he had read word for word from his manuscript, he now spoke freely and almost passionately. And he received more than polite applause for this – for example when he urged that the promise of accession to the Balkan countries should not be put off any longer.
The head of government of one of the 27 member states does not often get the opportunity to deliver a keynote speech in the European Parliament. But Scholz refrained from setting new accents for the further development of the EU. In his speech, the chancellor described the admission of accession candidates such as the Western Balkan countries, Ukraine and Moldova, and later possibly Georgia, as central to the future. Scholz derived from the enlargement of the EU “to perhaps 500 million citizens” the necessity for internal reforms.
On the details, Scholz referred to the reform proposals he had presented at his Prague speech in August. He emphasized the call for an increasing shift to majority decisions in the Council on foreign and security policy as well as on taxes. To the “skeptics”, he said, he wanted to shout: “It is not unanimity, not 100 percent agreement on all decisions that creates the greatest possible democratic legitimacy – on the contrary!”.
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