- Scholz presents his offer to Europe
- Repair label: the French example
- Electricity price intervention within weeks
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Nils Redeker of the Jacques Delors Centre shares his views on the keynote speech on European policy that Chancellor Scholz gave in Prague yesterday: “The speech is predominantly insightful because it reveals what the German government is prepared to talk about.” The Chancellor’s well-known positions were discussed, such as his support for the admission of the Western Balkan countries, Ukraine, Moldova and, in the long term, Georgia. But Scholz also provided new impetus, for example, by suggesting that Germany would be open to a new aid program along the lines of SURE to mitigate the consequences of the energy crisis. The topics that Scholz neglected to mention drew especially prominent criticism. You can read more about it in our detailed analysis of the speech.
It remains more attractive to simply invest in brand new electric appliances instead of repairing old, defective ones – however, this is supposed to change. The reparability of products could become a visible criterion when buying a smartphone or a washing machine. Several member states, such as Spain, Belgium and Germany, have concrete plans for a repair label. The EU Commission has yet to submit such a proposal. France is already a step ahead: Last year, the country introduced the Indice de réparabilité. The initial results are positive, but NGOs have also identified weaknesses, as Leonie Düngefeld reports.
The EU is working on an emergency instrument to counter the effects of high electricity prices. It is expected to take effect soon. “It is a matter of weeks,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at an event with Economic Affairs Minister Robert Habeck at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs yesterday. She also announced a structural reform of the electricity market, which Europe.Table already reported on last week. Here, too, things are supposed to move quickly: The reform is already planned for the beginning of 2023. Read more in the News.
Scholz presents his offer to Europe
It will soon be five years since Emmanuel Macron presented his proposals for the European Union at the Sorbonne University in Paris. Under Angela Merkel, the German government failed to respond. The Russian attack on Ukraine, however, has forced the community into a reform discussion that its successor, Olaf Scholz, neither could nor wanted to avoid. In a keynote speech yesterday at Prague’s Charles University, the chancellor outlined his government’s ideas for the future of Europe.
The Czech Republic holds the EU presidency in the second half of the year, but Scholz also wanted to send a message to the Central and Eastern European countries at this point: During the Cold War, their citizens had the feeling of having been forgotten by the West behind the Iron Curtain. This still has an impact today, also in the debates about the future of the EU.
At the scene of the Prague Spring in 1968 and the Velvet Revolution in 1989, the chancellor also wanted to clarify “where the dividing line will be in the future between this free Europe and a neo-imperial autocracy“. Putin’s Russia will define itself in opposition to the European Union for the foreseeable future, he said. China, too, is taking advantage of the open flanks offered by the Europeans. For the EU, he said, it is therefore no longer a matter of just securing peace at home but also of ensuring security abroad. To do this, it must “close ranks, overcome old conflicts and find new solutions”.