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POLITICS

Germany backs France for ‘more sovereign’ Europe: German Foreign Minister

France and Germany bear a "special responsibility" to make the European Union a stronger world power as Paris assumes the bloc's rotating presidency, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told AFP on Friday.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock holds a press conference at the foreign office in Berlin, Germany
Annalena Baerbock became Germany's first woman top diplomat when the country's new coalition government was formed. Michael Sohn / POOL / AFP

Germany’s coalition government has said it wants to increase the bloc’s “strategic sovereignty” as rivalries between world powers such as the United States, China and Russia adversely affect the EU.

French President Emmanuel Macron has long envisioned a stronger European Union, saying he aimed to make it “powerful in the world” during France’s six-month presidency of the European Council beginning on January 1st.

Germany will also host the next G7 summit in June as president of the group of wealthy democracies, giving the EU a chance to establish global diplomatic leadership in 2022.

The two countries, “as the closest of friends at the heart of Europe, bear a special responsibility for a united European Union, capable of acting and looking towards the future,” said Baerbock.

France’s presidency is “an important opportunity we want to seize together to strengthen Europe and make it fit to rise up to tomorrow’s challenges”, she added.

“Our French friends can count on our support from the first day to the last to prepare the ground for a sustainable economic recovery, in the fight against the climate crisis, in digitalisation and for a more sovereign Europe.”

France’s priorities for its European Council presidency include a bloc-wide minimum wage, more regulation on digital giants and a carbon border tax.

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Member comments

  1. There’s only so much sovereignty to go round. A more sovereign Europe, by definition, means a less sovereign France. I wonder if that’s what people really want and if anyone will ask them.

    1. Russia is a world power in a military context, not an economic one. If the EU wants to build ‘sovereignty’ to be included in this bracket, it must have the means to defend itself like a global power and not rely on the US. This is what Putin fears and would stop him in his tracks.

      1. Since 5 member states are neutral and the rest don’t even pay what NATO expects from them , there’s no chance that the EU will ever be in a position to defend itself.

        1. Exactly. Which is what encourages the Russians to keep testing for weakness.
          The EU as a federal entity is a huge joke. It will never happen. To talk about EU sovereignty is just more hot air.

  2. Russia was promised many years ago that NATO wouldn’t be expanded into its backyard. So why is the German foreign minister supporting NATO expansion into Russian territory? Why is she fighting Nord Stream 2 which Germany needs real bad? If she wants to have a sovereign Europe why is she allowing the United States to encroach on German interests? The last thing we need is to provoke the Russian bear. Check her Wikipedia profile and you will gain an insight.

  3. Europe does need to be more sovereign and I don’t agree NATO is exactly the way to go about it. An EU army that is separate of NATO would be able to defend Europe from cyber attacks, crime, terrorism and Russian militarism. Small nations like the Baltics and Neutral states like Sweden and Finland would be best served by France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland collaborating together to present a United front against all threats.

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CULTURE

Pay women footballers the same as men, says German chancellor

Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday made a push for equal pay for men and women international footballers after Germany's successful run at the recent European Championships.

Pay women footballers the same as men, says German chancellor

“My position on this is clear,” Scholz said after a meeting with the German Football Association (DFB) to discuss the issue.

“We talked about how we can continue to help more girls and women get excited about football. Of course, the wages at such tournaments play a major role in this,” he said.

“That’s why it makes sense to discuss equal pay. I made the suggestion and I’m very grateful that there is a willingness to discuss this issue.”

Germany scored their biggest major tournament success since 2015 at this year’s European Championships, losing to England in the final at Wembley.

Scholz attended the final and also supported the women’s team by tweeting: “It’s 2022, and women and men should be paid equally. This also applies to sport, especially for national teams.”

READ ALSO: Scholz to cheer on Germany at Euro 2022 final

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits the DFP headquarters on Tuesday.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) visits the DFP (German Football Association) headquarters on Tuesday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sebastian Gollnow

Germany’s women would have received €60,000 each if they had triumphed at the tournament, while the men would have received €400,000 each had they prevailed at the Euros last year.

Bernd Neuendorf, president of the DFB, said he understood the argument “that equal work and success should also have the same value”.

“I’m willing to discuss in our committees whether our payment system is up to date or whether it should be adjusted,” he said.

Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg suggested that international footballers’ wages could be evened out by paying women more and men less.

Officials must now “follow up with action” after the meeting, she said in an interview with the ZDF broadcaster.

Scholz said he was “very, very proud” of the women’s performance at the Euros, even if “it didn’t quite work out”.

“I hope it will have a long-lasting effect, not only on the players themselves… but also on football in Germany,” he said.

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