Shaping Europe proactively again!

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An appeal to the future federal government

The Bundestag election campaign will soon enter the hot phase, at the latest then there must also be a debate on how the parties want to help shape the future of the European Union. Especially after the end of the Merkel era, which was unfortunately too often characterized by a lack of vision in European politics and a reactive style of politics, a window has opened for the new federal government to finally switch back to creative mode.

And that is sorely needed. Because the EU member states are struggling with various challenges that they can only solve together. We have long been in competition with authoritarian states that restrict democracy and the freedom of the individual. A system rivalry is also developing economically, especially with China and its state capitalism. The EU must therefore become more effective globally by converting its economic strength and its still high appeal as a beacon for democracy and freedom into active politics. As Free Democrats, we therefore call for courageous reforms in the tasks of the EU, its working methods and the institutions. In this way, the EU can become more effective and efficient.

In the field of foreign and security policy, we call for the transition to qualitative majority decisions and the expansion of the post of High Representative to a fully-fledged EU foreign minister. In addition, we want to begin the gradual construction of a European army and ensure the joint protection of our external borders. The member states willing to integrate should also develop joint military capabilities for missions within the framework of the common security and defense policy – ​​in close cooperation with NATO, of course.

We must strive for more European sovereignty, especially in important areas such as energy supply, raw material imports and digital technology. In addition, the EU should concentrate on one of its greatest strengths: the further expansion of an open and competitive internal market and the commitment to free trade agreements and against trade barriers of all kinds. In this way, the EU automatically remains a shaping force on the world stage.

But the EU must not ignore internal problems and must finally defend its own values ​​uncompromisingly. We must no longer ignore the constant provocations by the Polish and Hungarian governments, including massive violations of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. During the Merkel era, eyes were turned a blind eye to the then party friend Orbán. The result: the situation continued to deteriorate and now requires an enormous effort from many actors. Now the EU Commission must apply the new rule of law mechanism and consistently suspend transfer payments. For the future federal government, it is important to further develop the rule of law mechanism in the Council.

In addition, we need institutional reforms for more transparency and efficiency in the EU. The European Parliament should be strengthened, given the right of initiative and partly elected via transnational lists. The European Commission, on the other hand, should be downsized. This will require contract changes. The new federal government must not shy away from initiating this. As Free Democrats, we therefore advocate a constitutional convention and the creation of a federal EU. Such a step towards a federal state would finally give the EU its own statehood, but at the same time with a strongly decentralized and subsidiary character. On the one hand, this would overcome the current state of what is still a relatively loose network and, at the same time, avoid a structure that is too centralized. From our point of view, this would be the best way to let the EU grow together in those areas in which we need Europe as a long-term political union in order to ensure Europe's self-assertion in the 21st century.

Michael George Link Member of the Bundestag

European policy spokesman for the Free Democrats in the German Bundestag

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