30/08/2022
Texts in English
The "German Solution" for Europe
Ivo Strejček for Forum of Democracy International


Five years ago, when French President Macron formulated his ideas on the future of the European Union, he chose for his speech the Sorbonne University in Paris. Apparently, he considered this place to be authentic enough for a French politician to formulate French views on the future European order. The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, decided otherwise. He chose Prague to formulate the German view on the future of the European Union. In the premises of the ancient Czech Charles University, not in the premises of any German university, he delivered a speech in which he outlined the German view of the future of Europe. 

The outrageous symbolism of this event which took place in Prague, and not in Berlin or Munich, must be resolutely rejected from the outset.  Czech history has been a history of both coexistence and struggle with the German element for a thousand years. It was not always was a mutually beneficial history; more often it was an attempt to establish German rule and domination in Bohemia. That is why we, the Czechs, are obliged to pay careful attention to speeches delivered by German politicians about the future European order and so-called “German responsibility for it” (as Scholz called it in his speech), especially when they are delivered in Bohemia, for such speeches are often made at our expense. Our history has taught us to be cautious. 

In his speech, Olaf Scholz, the leader of Europe's strongest power and Chancellor of the country which in reality decides the fate of the European Union, unscrupulously abused the ongoing war in Ukraine in order to call for a “stronger geopolitical Europe”. Throughout his speech, he did not hesitate to exploit this wartime suffering, using it as a window of opportunity for proposals which are ultimately dangerous to European stability and prosperity. There is no need to take much notice of small things, such as his remarks on possible reforms of the European Parliament or the European Commission, or on creating a European “Silicon Valleys”. The most important and crucial idea is to be found in Scholz's statement that “abstract discussions will get us nowhere”, that we need to abandon the national veto and establish in the European Council decision-making processes based on qualified majority voting. If this proposal became reality, it would fundamentally change decision-making in the European institutions. His proposal is completely unacceptable to small and medium-sized EU Member States because this way of decision-making suits the large powerful EU members and helps them to defend and promote their economic and political interests. Although Scholz said that “these are just ideas and proposals to be thought about - not ready-made solutions”, he almost immediately thereafter referred to “Germany's responsibility for Europe”.

To justify eliminating the national veto in key foreign and security policy decisions, Scholz did not hesitate to exploit the desire of some countries to join the EU. He promised German support for EU membership for the countries of the Western Balkans, Moldova, Ukraine and even Georgia, despite the fact that such a membership is for – at least some of them – quite unrealistic. “To become members will take some time, EU enlargement reforms in the candidate states will be taken in parallel with the EU’s institutional reforms. These must be taken immediately”, said Scholz with the clear aim of pushing for fundamental changes in voting procedures. The “German” end evidently justifies the “German” means. 

We should not be fooled by Scholz’s nice sentences about beautiful Prague, its history, his quotes from important Czech writers and thinkers. These were merely the backdrop against which the German Chancellor made extremely dangerous proposals. His calls to “find compromises together” about European sovereignty, energy independence and the creation of our own European defence as a complement to NATO are just nice words to blur another significant attempt to deprive EU Member States of what remains of national sovereignty. Let us recall a current example: skyrocketing energy prices are the consequences of the “European solution”. Do we have a reason to believe Scholz now when he advocates that now is the right time to create a stronger geopolitical Europe? Definitely not. 

If he really cared about the future and prosperity of Europe, the German chancellor would have made a serious speech in Prague on how to contribute to a peaceful settlement of relations between Ukraine and Russia. If he had really cared about social peace and economic stability, he would have proposed how to calm the energy markets. If he had really cared about the future prosperity of the European Union, he should have attacked the regulations and “ever-wider” harmonisations with which Brussels has been destroying our industries for decades. 

Olaf Scholz chose in Prague a “German solution”.  Like the Athenians addressing the inhabitants of Melos, he announced that the weak would become weaker and the strong stronger.  We must not accept it!


Ivo Strejček, August 30, 2022


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