European Federalism Revisited – German Views on the Euro Crisis
In response to a powerful speech delivered in Berlin by the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski, the GMF Warsaw office organized a panel discussion with representatives of the German policy community. Moderated by Dr. Andrew Michta, the panel featured Dietmar Nietan, a member of the German Bundestag and the Chairman of the Federal German-Polish Society; and Dr Constanze Stelzenmüller, Senior Transatlantic Fellow with the German Marshall Fund in Berlin.
Stelzenmüller said the speech was a timely ‘make-or-break’ case urging Europeans to save Europe. Nietan noted that the speech constituted a dramatic change in discussion about the future of the EU and a significant development for Poland’s foreign policy.
Nietan believes it is high time that decisions are made and the only right option is ‘more Europe’. Stronger cooperation would not mean giving up sovereignty as such, but taking a conscious step to strengthen Europe’s global position as a collective body. This would be beneficial for the prosperity and global position of every member state.
In agreement, Stelzenmüller said that capitalism as a national model does not work today. EU economic integration has benefitted Britain and France considerably but Germany, in fact, has benefitted the most. Referring to Polish skepticism about Germany assuming the role of EU leader, she stated that the country is not in a position to play the dominant role and appreciates the presence of Poland and France. She remarked that in the future policies need to be established collectively, through institutions operating in a structured system.
Nietan added that what the EU is missing is the common value of solidarity – the value which could make the Union more attractive globally. The member states should act together to save the Eurozone, because if they allow its failure, the trust in the EU institutions will be lost. This needs to be prevented in to create a positive future for the European project.
In her concluding remarks, Stelzenmüller said that as Europeans we should appreciate what has been achieved so far but that we still have to wait to see the full impact of Minister Sikorski’s speech.