Outgoing German Chancellor Angela Merkel proclaimed this Thursday that “only a united Europe is a strong Europe” and warned that if “the centrifugal forces” arising in some countries are not stopped, the European Union (EU) “will end up having problems”.
16 sentences that summarize the 16 years of Merkel’s government
Merkel has received from the hands of Felipe VI the XIV Carlos V European Award at the Yuste Monastery (Cáceres) in recognition of her commitment to Europe, in a ceremony that was attended by the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, and the PP , Pablo Casado, among other authorities.
The 67-year-old German Chancellor has opted for “more European sovereignty” to guarantee and strengthen EU cohesion and prevent national interests from taking precedence in the short and medium term.
“Only a united Europe is a strong Europe, and that comes from common values. United inward, strong outward. This is the motto of the EU’s coexistence. Tight cohesion, trust and respect are the requisites. indispensable, “Merkel said.
Poland and Hungary
In one of her last institutional acts as chancellor after 16 years in power, Merkel has admitted that Europe faces “centrifugal forces” arising when “the power of cohesion becomes fragile, when the expectations of the EU are not met or when changes in society are made at various speeds. ”
“When national interests in the short and medium term come before the common European challenge or the legal basis, we will end up having problems,” he said, referring to the decision of the Polish Constitutional Court that ruled that the Polish Constitution takes precedence over European laws. The only “effective method” to counteract this phenomenon, Merkel added, is to maintain a “sincere” dialogue and highlight European values. ”
The chancellor has called on European leaders to bet “to be more proactive, improve coordination and make Europe more independent” from other powers, among which China has cited.
“It does not mean isolating ourselves, but defending our interests and acting strategically on the basis of our values. A sovereign, innovative and capable Europe of action is what we need to assert our values and interests in the world.”
To gain influence against other blocs and tackle problems such as immigration, the chancellor has demanded “to act with one voice.”
They also assert European principles, as they are “the basis of their credibility”: cooperation, respect and tolerance. “In times when multilateralism is under pressure and old conflicts threaten to reopen, this message is more important than ever.”
In his final stretch as Chancellor, he has warned of the threats posed to democracy by “extremism, terrorism, racism or anti-Semitism” and has encouraged “to fight them with the greatest determination”, from “close cohesion, trust and the respect”.
He has also defended equality and respect for minorities enshrined in European treaties, alluding to the law passed in Hungary against homosexual groups. He recalled that in the European project “great leaps are not always made”, for which he has recommended being “persevering and knowing how to mediate.”
From Spain, the German leader thanked Sánchez for his efforts to forge a common migration policy. He also conveyed his gratitude to the Prime Minister for helping “to ensure and strengthen the cohesion of Europe.”
Merkel has admitted that Europe “seems to suffer from its own success” when checking citizens that their promises of stability have been fulfilled, but has insisted that peace and history cannot be taken for granted. “On the contrary, they must be protected and defended. We do not have the guarantee of lasting freedom and peace.”
For the CDU leader, “Europe is fortunate for all that it must be preserved and continue to be designed” and its diversity is “a valuable resource that must be used for the good of all.”
“The last decades give us encouragement because every time things got tough, the EU stayed united. And it will continue to do so, I am convinced, if we maintain good, close, friendly relations, beyond politics.”
In his speech, he addressed other challenges that the EU has pending, such as the fight against climate change. In his opinion, the economy and the defense of the environment “must go hand in hand” and Europe must assume a “greater digital sovereignty” to “design globalization according to European values”, without this implying “limiting cooperation with others. partners “.
Merkel is the third woman to receive the award granted by the European and Ibero-American Academy of Yuste Foundation since 1995 in memory of the former King of Spain and European Emperor (1500-1558). Before that, it was achieved by the former president of the European Parliament, Simone Veil (2008) and the promoter of the Erasmus program, Sofia Corradi (2016). In addition, it is the second time that the award has been awarded to a German chancellor after the late Helmut Kohl (2006).