EM Germany Newsletter December 2023 | Annual résumé and Europe’s historical mission
2023 had light and shade. Recent progress on enlargement and pro-European election results in Poland give hope. But populist nationalism continues to threaten European democracy from within and without.
2023 was a year of moving closer together in Europe. After the EU enlargement project had been virtually frozen for the past decade, the decision has finally matured in Europe’s capitals to tackle the integration of Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkan states into the EU with vigor. The start of accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova is a gain for the whole of Europe. We call for going even further and integrating the accession candidates into the European community in tangible intermediate steps, for example by granting them observer status in the European Parliament.
However, enlargement also involves reforming the EU in order to improve its ability to act. The accession process, with its frequent threats of vetoes by individual countries for their own benefit, is the best example of why reforms are necessary. The European Conference at the Federal Foreign Office at the beginning of November and the European Council last weekend courageously opened the door wider. But diplomacy shies away from a broad debate. We therefore need a convention to amend the treaties of the European Union after the European elections in 2024. The Convention stands for representative democracy of MEPs and executives at all levels. However, the content must already be made public in the course of next year’s elections to the European Parliament. With its 250 member organizations, the EM Germany will actively help to ensure that no room is left for the enemies of Europe and freedom within the framework of a democratic competition.
Dr. Linn Selle
President of EM Germany
EM Germany News
EM Germany De-Briefing European Council – EU summit votes in favour of accession talks | EU enlargement is moving forward, the latest meeting of EU heads of state and government has shown. At the EM Germany De-Briefing on the European Council, Sibylle Katharina Sorg, Head of the European Department at the German Federal Foreign Office, and Dr Kirsten Scholl, Head of the Department for European Affairs at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, presented the results of the last meeting. The progress made on EU enlargement, Ukraine’s stagnating financial aid, potential EU reforms and the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 were commented on by Manica Hauptman, Head of the Political Section of the European Commission Representation in Germany, and Barabara Lochbihler, Vice-President of EM Germany. | More (in German)
EBD Board meeting – Well equipped for the European election year 2024 | The last Board meeting of the year concentrated on the planning of the upcoming European Year 2024. Following a discussion of the positive results of the last European Council on EU enlargement, the focus turned to the extensive projects of the EM Germany for 2024. A network campaign is intended to encourage citizens to vote in the European elections. In view of the current geopolitical crises, the work of the EM Germany and its member organisations remains important to secure a democratic and sustainable future for the people of Europe. | More (in German)
European values in the focus of the Council of Europe at the EM Germany Briefing on Liechtenstein’s chairmanship | At the EM Germany Briefing on Liechtenstein’s chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Ambassador Domenik Wanger, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the Council of Europe, presented the priorities and programme of the chairmanship, emphasising the importance and the strengthening of European values as well as the shaping of Europe for the younger generation. EM Germany’s Vice-President Barbara Lochbihler and Manica Hauptman, Head of the Political Section of the Representation of the European Commission in Germany, highlighted the relevance of the Council of Europe’s work in their welcoming addresses. Ambassador Heike Thiele, Permanent Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Council of Europe, assessed the priorities from the perspective of the Federal Government and stressed that the current global challenges can only be successfully overcome if the resolutions of the Council of Europe Summit in Reykjavik are rigorously implemented. In the subsequent discussion, moderated by Secretary General Bernd Hüttemann, Viktor Yengibaryan, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the Federal Republic of Germany, and Eugen Schönfeld, Head of the Council of Europe Working Unit at the Federal Foreign Office, commented on the role of the Council of Europe in regional conflicts. The participants agreed that, above all, dialogue must be promoted and the European Court of Human Rights strengthened. | More (in German)
Budgets and social policy at EM Germany De-Briefings ECOFIN and Euro Group and EPSCO | Questions regarding the German budget are currently in the media spotlight. Likewise, the national budgets of the EU member states were an issue at the ECOFIN Council and Eurogroup meeting as well. At the EM Germany De-Briefing ECOFIN and Eurogroup, Dr Judith Hermes, Head of the European Policy and International Financial Policy Division at the Federal Ministry of Finance, presented the developments in the EU’s economic governance as well as the European Semester 2024 and the status of financial support for Ukraine. Budget policy and the European Semester were also discussed by the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) in the context of a just transition to climate neutrality. The results of the EPSCO Council were reviewed by Florian Schierle, European Commissioner at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, and Mark Kamperhoff, European Commissioner at the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, at the EBD De-Briefing EPSCO. | More (in German)
Women of Europe Award – Statement about Orange Day | On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the so-called Orange Day, the award winners – President Dr Linn Selle, Prof. Gudrun Schmidt-Kärner, Düzen Tekkal, Lisi Maier and Cathrin Schauer-Kelpin – drew attention to the fight against gender-based violence and for equal rights for women. Together, they emphasised that the protection of women is a task for society as a whole and advocated for the consistent ratification of the Istanbul Convention, which strengthens women’s rights sustainably. | More (in German)
EM Germany President and Secretary General at the Youth Space Conference 2023 | Europe needs a engaged young generation to secure European values of democracy and freedom. The Youth Space Conference, organised by the German Federal Youth Council (DBJR) and the German delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), was dedicated to this topic in the context of the future of the Council of Europe. At the beginning of the two-day conference, Secretary General Bernd Hüttemann spoke with Frank Schwabe MdB, head of the German delegation to the PACE, about the contribution the Council of Europe can and must make to Europe’s future. In a discussion with international youth representatives at the Youth Space Conference, President Dr Linn Selle emphasised the relevance of the Council of Europe for a democratic and sustainable Europe that is shaped with and for the young generation. | More (in German)
EM Germany Secretary General – Networking for the European elections at the DGB and the KAS | Cooperation between pro-European actors is particularly important at the moment for next year’s European elections. Secretary General Bernd Hüttemann met with the German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) and parliamentary employees from the European Parliament at the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) to discuss the European election campaign. EM Germany’s campaign is supposed to connect, network and motivate citizens to vote for Europe in July 2024. To achieve this, it is important to utilise the synergy effects of the extensive EM Germany network.
From the (international) network
EMI Federal Assembly 2023 in Brussels: New Board elected and strategic course set for the future | At the Federal Assembly of our umbrella organisation European Movement International (EMI), EM Germany was represented by Board members Steffi Grimm, Frank Burgdörfer and Matthäus Fandrejewski as well as Milan Swarowsky, Political Officer to the Secretary General. Guy Verhofstadt MEP was elected as the new President and Tobias Köck was confirmed in office as Vice-President. We would like to thank the outgoing President Eva Maydell MEP for the close cooperation. For the exciting European year 2024 with the European elections in June, we as the EM Germany look forward to mutual support and cooperation with the newly elected Board. | More (in German)
16.01.2024 | EBD Briefing Belgian EU Council Presidency with H.E. Geert Muylle, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium in Germany, Sibylle Katharina Sorg, Head of the European department the Federal Foreign Office, Dr. Kirsten Scholl, Head of the European department at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, and Patrick Lobis, Acting Representative of the European Commission in Germany.
Our Presidency Calendar on the Spanish EU Council Presidency contains all dates of the semester.
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