The Future of the European Union: A liberal view from Germany

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Copyright: Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

More than five months after the federal elections, Germany has finally been able to form a government. This means that not only domestic politics can go ahead, but decisions and reforms on the European level can be addressed as well. How are the challenges ahead perceived in Berlin, and what are the different views on Europe prevailing in German politics?

 

FNF Europe had the chance to discuss these questions and deepen the conversation on the future of the European Union with Michael Georg Link MP, speaker on European Affairs of the FDP parliamentary group and a board member of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

During the breakfast discussion, Mr. Link, former Minister of State in the Federal Foreign Office and an expert on European Affairs, shared his views on how to deal with the challenges Europe currently faces. According to him, it is important to always observe the rule of law and stick to the core values that constitute the European Union.  “Providing security and rule of law is the biggest challenge that we are currently facing. If everybody goes it alone, we will be lost” said Michael G. Link.

Speaking with one voice is more crucial than ever, especially for European Liberals. “We need to realise where other partners are standing and discuss our problems internally.” As a consequence this means that Member States should not act unilaterally anymore, but involve European partners more actively, pointing out that a German ‘Sonderweg’ was not an option for the future. “For the problems that have become global, it is important to think outside the national box, and so coherence is a crucial pillar in order to push any reform forward”, concluded Link.

 

 

Another step towards more coherence is a gradual shift in the European institutional system towards majority voting and strengthening the European Parliament. Not only does it serve as an important platform for crucial debate, but “it is important that citizens feel represented, and is the only way to defend the values we stand for”, said Mr. Link.

The current crises, such as Brexit or the emancipation of certain Central and Easter European states, concluded Link, do not necessarily mean the end of Europe, but can rather serve as an accelerator for progress. Member States will have to act together in order to secure a brighter future for the EU.

 

 

Daniela Oberstein, Programme Manager & Media Officer in the Brussels Office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom