The status quo does not bring stability: Berlin supports the Franco-German proposal for reform and enlargement of the EU
The recommendations of a report by a group of experts hired by the German and French governments on EU reform and enlargement are acceptable to the parties in Germany's governing coalition. The report was published ten days ago, but it is feared that the entire process could be blocked due to the opposition of certain member states, primarily Poland, but also due to the possible change of government in Berlin after the elections in 2025.
The Report proposes a series of reforms that the EU should implement as part of the preparations for the admission of new members, emphasizing that the expansion of the Union until 2030 is essential and its postponement would create geopolitical risks, reported MIA from Brussels. .
According to the spokesman for European affairs of the biggest political force in Germany's ruling "traffic light" coalition, the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), Christian Petrie, 2030 could be the year of EU enlargement, if "all parties implement the necessary reforms."
- The status quo situation does not bring stability, says Petri.
His colleague from the government coalition partner - the Greens, Chantal Kopf said that the admission of new members is in the interest of the EU itself, because it will make it stronger, more stable and safer.
- Today, the European and democratic institutions are under attack, more than ever before, said the spokeswoman of the Greens for European affairs, Kopf.
The third government partner, the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), welcomed what its European affairs spokesman Michael Link said were the "broad proposals" of the expert commission, but said the Liberals would not support the idea that fiscal and tax policies in the EU are adopted by a qualified majority of votes, and not, as before, by a consensus of all member countries. According to Link, such a proposal would represent "the wrong path".
On the other hand, according to Petri from the SPD, there is concern that the "ambitious timeline" could be slowed down, due to opposition to some of the EU reforms by certain member states.
- The biggest obstacle is the lack of political will in certain member states, especially some of those who are advocating for the quick admission of Ukraine, Petri said, without naming any specific country.
In Brussels, the most ardent supporter of Ukraine's membership in the EU is Poland, whose government, on the other hand, is vehemently against abolishing the consensus in the Union when making decisions on most issues.
An additional problem in the implementation of the Franco-German plan for reform and enlargement of the EU could be the possible change of government in Berlin after the federal elections in 2025.
Opinion polls in Germany show that the opposition Christian Democratic Union (CDU) enjoys the support of 26,5 to 29 percent of voters, ahead of the far-right Alliance for Germany (AFD) with between 21 and 23 percent, followed by the three ruling parties. parties – SPD with 16 to 18, Greens with 14 to 16 and FDP with six to seven percent support, as well as the Left party for which four out of five percent of voters would vote.
The CDU has not yet officially commented on the expert proposal, but the party's spokesman for European affairs Günter Krichbaum said that enlargement should not be tied to dates, but to whether a certain candidate country for membership meets the established criteria, especially those related to the rule of the right.
- Membership negotiations can take years, if not decades, and it is not uncommon for regression to occur, Krichbaum said, assessing that it would be a mistake to set a target date for enlargement.
The researcher of the Brussels Center for European Politics (CEP), Eleonora Poli, agrees with the assessments of the German-French expert commission on the need for EU enlargement, who believes that in order to defend against the dangerous external influence and the power game in the Western Balkans, The Union should urgently speed up the process for the admission of the four candidate countries for membership from the region "which have been stuck in the EU's waiting room for about a decade". In a statement to "Euraktiv", Poli says that countries like China, Russia and Saudi Arabia are already working to strengthen their influence in the Balkans.
However, according to her, due to "lack of political will" among some EU member states, the deadline for implementing reforms in the Union until 2030 seems unrealistic at the moment.
But on the other hand, the social democrat Petri is optimistic about the possibilities of expanding the Union, assessing that the chances for that "for years have not been as great as they are now".
The first test of the prospects of the French-German expert proposal is expected to be tomorrow's informal EU General Affairs Council, where the published Report of the group of experts will likely be debated.