Scholz is open to Macron’s thoughts on the future of Europe

Olaf Schulz and Emmanuel Macron

The inaugural visit of the re-elected French President.

(Photo: AP)

Paris Chancellor Olaf Schultz, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Russian President Vladimir Putin have called for an immediate ceasefire and peace talks in Ukraine. During Macron’s inaugural visit after his re-election in Berlin on Monday night, the two politicians acknowledged that Putin had refrained from further escalation in a speech commemorating World War II.

“There was no further escalation today,” Macron said. But this is not enough. A ceasefire is needed “as soon as possible” for peace and a “permanent withdrawal of Russian forces” from Ukraine.

Schultz demanded the resumption of negotiations to end the war and be “more realistic.” In this regard, it is important that the escalation is not pushed further, at least in terms of rhetoric.

What is critical, however, is how Russia conducts itself in Ukraine in the coming weeks. Putin must withdraw the troops. In addition, “it was inconceivable that Ukraine would accept an imposed peace.”

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At a major military parade in Moscow marking the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, Putin did not order a general mobilization as feared. However, he once again justified his aggressive war by claiming that he was countering alleged aggression from the West and taking action against the “neo-Nazis” rule in Kyiv.

Schulz is open to Macron’s thoughts on the future of the European Union

The future of Europe was also a topic of debate between the two. Schultz was open to Macron’s idea of ​​a European political community that would give Ukraine and other countries in the EU’s neighborhood a European perspective.

The French president made the proposal on Monday in a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, also because under current accession requirements, Ukraine’s EU membership is still years or even decades away.

“The danger is that we will discourage our neighboring countries that share the same values,” Macron said in his meeting with Schulz over the lengthy process of joining the European Union. “So we have to find a new political form.” In addition to security issues, cooperation in the expanded group of countries can also include cooperation on energy policy or rules of entry.

Schulz spoke of a “very interesting proposal”. However, this path should not limit the prospects for the accession of the Western Balkan countries to the European Union.

Macron indicated that the EU will hold a summit in June with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, each at different stages of the accession process.

Berlin

Military honors reception.

(Photo: AP)

The French president reiterated the call he made in the European Parliament for a fundamental reform of the EU’s institutions, which also requires treaty changes. Faced with skepticism in a number of member states, he said there was rarely a unit in Europe at the start of the process. It is now a matter of finding a middle ground.

Schulz expressed his reservations on Monday evening: “Wherever consensus can be reached, we are happy to be there.” More efficient decision-making mechanisms could also be achieved in Europe without treaty changes. For example, the principle of majority voting can already be used in more political areas than before, so that individual states can no longer block the veto.

Franco-German Planned Cabinet

The chancellor congratulated Macron “from the bottom of his heart” on his re-election last month. It is a “good sign” that the French have continued to advocate a pro-European path. The Franco-German partnership is “more important than ever as a driver of the European project”. After the French parliamentary elections in June, the formation of a Franco-German cabinet is also scheduled. “Our goal: a new impetus for Europe,” Schultz said.

However, it remains to be seen whether Macron will regain a majority in the National Assembly with his centrist coalition. Last week, left-wing populist EU critic Jean-Luc Melenchon united the fragmented left camp and pursued his goal of becoming prime minister to counterbalance Macron.

An alliance victory is possible. If Macron, with allied center-right and center-left parties, fails to win a majority in parliament, he will in effect have to take his political opponents into account when forming a government and legislating.

more: Long distance duel on Europe Day – Putin celebrates his army and the EU celebrates his democracy

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