Macron: Expert discusses ‘European Project’
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This week, Germany’s foreign minister, Heiko Maas, said the bloc should not allow itself to be “held hostage” by member states who veto foreign policy measures. His comments came after Hungary block an EU statement in April criticising China’s new Hong Kong security law.
He said: “We can’t let ourselves be held hostage by the people who hobble European foreign policy with their vetoes.
“If you do that then sooner or later you are risking the cohesion of Europe.
“The veto has to go, even if that means we can be outvoted.”
But Mr Maas’s comments have been attacked by Swedish MEP, Charlie Weimers, who claimed the German government wants to “pass independent Swedish foreign policy into history”.
Tweeting an article from Pieter Cleppe, Head of the Brussels office of Open Europe, Mr Weimers said: “Abolished right of veto: The German government now wants to pass independent Swedish foreign policy into history.
“Merkel already pursues European tax policy.
“EU federalists are paving the way for a gigantic popular setback.”
In his article, Mr Cleppe lashed out at the German foreign minister and said the EU may be “losing the plot after Brexit”.
He wrote: “The statements by Heiko Maas are yet more evidence that the EU may be losing the plot after Brexit.
“Clearly, now that the adults have left the room, all kinds of aggressive new EU initiatives are being undertaken that are bound to backfire and ultimately also threaten popular support for the European Union.”
He continued: “Just like foreign policy, taxation is a contentious issue that requires solid democratic consent – as in ‘no taxation without representation’.
“To outvote a minority of EU democracies on the question of how high taxes should be – especially if combined with ever greater EU transfers – is bound to backfire somehow.”
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Mr Cleppe added how foreign policy relates to the “heart of national democracy” where the bloc’s “27 democracies may legitimately differ”.
He went on to say how the EU has taken the “wrong turn after Brexit” due to its new joint borrowing and spending schemes.
Mr Cleppe added how if the UK was still a member state, it is “very unlikely” the EU’s spending schemes would have been approved.
Following Mr Maas’ comments, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the European left – led by the German left – was attacking his country because of its “refusal to sign a politically inconsequential and frivolous joint declaration on Hong Kong”.
Mr Orban said: “There must be an end to the preoccupation in Brussels with concocting and flaunting declarations.
“In recent years this common foreign policy approach, motivated by domestic political considerations, has led to the European Union’s foreign policy stance becoming a laughing stock.”
“As far as Europe’s policy on China is concerned, we believe that we must prevent the re-emergence of Cold War policies and culture in world politics.”
Last month, Budapest refused to ratify a new EU trade and development accord with African, Caribbean and Pacific countries.
It also declined to support an EU call for a ceasefire in violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
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