Germany has been in crisis management mode at European level for far too long.
Germany needs to be a driver of new ideas and provide impetus to challenges such as migration policy, security and defence policy, and on making Europe a pioneer of cutting-edge technologies with a strong SME input.
Europe looks to Germany, and it is now time for Germany to look to Europe.
European reactions to a German government embracing the Future of Europe Conference in the coalition agreement have been quite positive, and rightly so: a German commitment to EU reform is now clearly on the table.
Along with the upcoming French Presidency of the Council of the EU, we should use this to initiate important reforms such as majority voting, a greater role for the European Parliament, a European electoral law with transnational lists and a ‘Spitzenkandidaten’ system worthy of the name.
"Germany needs to be a driver of new ideas and provide impetus to challenges such as migration policy, security and defence policy"
We should also seek greater transparency in the Council as well as acting more transparently, and have majority voting also in external affairs, to ensure a strong mandate for the EU’s High Representative.
A strategically sovereign and open Europe based on a stable and fair fiscal policy is a cornerstone of the Berlin coalition agreement so, let’s respond to global challenges together.
We are committed to a European Union that is resolute in standing up for its values and the rule of law, both internally and externally. We want a genuine common foreign and security policy in Europe. The EU must develop the capacity for acting internationally and presenting a more united front.
The coalition agreement also takes up the challenge of the new geopolitics of energy. We are committed to the establishment of a European Union for Green Hydrogen. Decarbonisation is only feasible if it is done in harmony with our economy, not against it.
We therefore want to convince industry to become international leaders in this transition. For example, we want to see the German aviation industry develop sustainably and efficiently. Germany should become a pioneer in CO2-neutral flying -as should the EU.
We also want to turn a page and manage migration better in Germany. To achieve this, the new government is ready for a paradigm shift: we pledge to shape migration in a forward-looking and realistic way.
"Given the deadlocked EU asylum and migration policy, a look at the new German model may be worthwhile. We will encourage regular migration -and reduce irregular migration - by attracting skilled workers with an ‘Opportunities Card’ based on a points system"
Given the deadlocked EU asylum and migration policy, a look at the new German model may be worthwhile. We will encourage regular migration -and reduce irregular migration - by attracting skilled workers with an ‘Opportunities Card’ based on a points system.
What is stopping us from also considering an Opportunities Card at EU level? At the same time, not everyone who wants to stay can do so. A just return policy is therefore a key consideration, as long as asylum procedures are fair, swift and legally sound, in Germany and throughout Europe.
The historic new coalition in Berlin has what it takes to achieve a paradigm shift - a change of scenery, in a positive sense. It has been long overdue at EU level - but Germany is now back.