EM Germany Newsletter CW 38/2023 | State of the Union address as a lead-up to the European election year
A key year for European politics lies ahead – and we can look forward to it. With the State of the European Union address, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen kicked off a year of highlights in European politics, culminating in the European Parliament elections on June 6-9, 2024.
In her speech to the European Parliament, the Commission President touched on all relevant policy areas, current challenges and heated debates, but unfortunately failed to take a formative role in accelerating the most pressing issues such as the endangered rule of law, EU enlargement and deepening, or the migration and asylum package. This is particularly regrettable as the timeframe for political solutions is narrowing with the European elections in 2024.
However, there still will be a lot to discuss before the European elections in June 2024, as many important European policy issues await us in the coming months. In addition to #SOTEU23, the report published yesterday by the Franco-German group of experts on institutional reforms of the European Union was a starting point: Together with the results of the Conference on the Future of Europe and the European Parliament’s proposals to amend the treaties based on last week’s treaty change we are now entering a period of intense debate about the future of the European Union.
We at the EBD will be following these debates closely and proactively. It is certainly no coincidence that the German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, is now focusing more on European policy and has announced a conference of the Federal Foreign Office on the enlargement and reform of the European Union for the beginning of November 2023. The momentum now building in the debate gives me and us at the EBD hope that necessary reforms and compromises are now within reach, and that it is now up to all of us to steer these reforms in the right direction.
Dr. Linn Selle
President of EM Germany
EM Germany News
Controversial decisions in uncertain times – EM Germany and EM Austria De-Briefing ECB Governing Council | Whether or not to raise the interest rate again in times of rising inflation and declining economic output is a matter for the Governing Council of the European Central Bank (ECB) to decide. At the De-Briefing ECB Council on 15 September 2023 Gabriel Glöckler, Principal Adviser in the ECB’s Directorate General Communication, and Katrin Assenmacher, Head of the Directorate General Monetary Policy, discussed the results of the Council’s meeting on 14 September and the challenges for the economy. The event was again held in cooperation with the European Movement Austria (EBÖ) under the moderation of Ortrun Gauper, Finance Officer of the EBÖ. | More (in German)
Secretary-General on Deutschlandfunk on transparency in EU politics | In the wake of the corruption scandal in the European Parliament, Secretary-General Bernd Hüttemann criticised the vulnerability of European legislation to illegitimate influence in the Deutschlandfunk „Europa heute“ programme on 13 September 2023. EM Germany calls for transparent and comprehensible lawmaking in the EU institutions. | More (in German)
State of the Union Address 2023 | In her last State of the European Union Address for the time being, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen presented the Commission’s achievements to date and outlined her plans until the upcoming European elections. Before the speech, EM Germany’s President Dr. Linn Selle formulated her expectations of the Commission President’s speech in an interview with SWR-Aktuell. From the point of view of the European Movement Germany, Ursula von der Leyen must put the protection of European democracy, the advancement of enlargement policy and migration policy at the centre of the Commission’s work in order to ensure a successful conclusion for her Commission. At a subsequent event at the European House in Berlin, Dr. Selle discussed the speech together with Rainer Wieland, Vice-President of the EU Parliament, Christoph Wolfrum, Commissioner for European Policy Issues, EU Coordination and EU External Relations at the Federal Foreign Office, Ambassador of Spain H.E. Ricardo Martínez Vázquez and Patrick Lobis, Acting Head of the Representation of the European Commission. The EM Germany President praised von der Leyen’s commitment to supporting Ukraine and the implementation of the Fit for 55 package. However, she also criticised the speech for being too vague and for completely omitting the important topic of the European elections in 2024, especially in times of rising populism and right-wing extremism. | More (in German)
EM Germany Board Meeting | On 8 September, the EM Germany Board met for its first meeting after the General Assembly and discussed the planned activities of the EM Germany in view of the European Election 2024. The input of Stephen Clark, Director of the 29 Liaison Offices of the European Parliament (EP), on the concept of the EP’s European election campaign was valuable for this. The discussions focused particularly on the positioning of EM Germany and its member organisations towards anti-European parties. | More (in German)
EP rapporteur in dialogue with Prof. Dr René Repasi on the right to repair | „Repairing instead of throwing away“ is the motto. In order to counteract the throwaway mentality, a new draft law of the EU Commission provides, among other things, that sellers must offer a repair under the legal warranty as long as it is cheaper than a replacement product. At the event „EP Rapporteurs in Dialogue“ in cooperation with the Liaison Office of the European Parliament in Germany, Prof. Dr. René Repasi, Member of the European Parliament and Member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, presented the concrete provisions of the Directive on the right to repair. Afterwards, the participants from business, politics and society had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss the legislative proposal together under the moderation of Secretary-General Bernd Hüttemann. | More (in German)
Vice-President meets H.E. Isabel Frommelt-Gottschald, Ambassador of the Principality of Liechtenstein | On the occasion of Liechtenstein’s upcoming chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe starting in November, the EM Germany’s Vice-President Barbara Lochbihler and Secretary-General Bernd Hüttemann met with H.E. Isabel Frommelt-Gottschald, Ambassador of the Principality of Liechtenstein in Berlin, and Embassy Counsellor Ulrich von Liechtenstein on 5 September 2023. One of the topics of the discussion was the strengthening of the Council of Europe. | More (in German)
26.09.2023 | EBD De-Briefing Competitiveness with Dr Kirsten Scholl, Head of the European Department at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection.
Our Presidency Calendar on the Spanish EU Council Presidency contains all dates of the semester.
Check out former editions of our newsletter here.
Please sign up here if you’d like to receive the newsletter (in German).