In the interview, our Co-Director analyses the Chancellor's speech in the European Parliament, the importance of the institutional reform agenda and Franco-German relations.
Olaf Scholz was in Strasbourg on May 9, Europe Day, where he also discussed with members of the European Parliament. "The general tone was statesmanlike, but could have been more concrete in its elaboration," concludes Johannes Lindner.
Our Co-Director further thinks it is important that Scholz again emphasised the topic of institutional reforms and enlargement: "There, you can also move forward together with the French."
However, differences between Germany and France had also become clear in the speech, of which Johannes Lindner highlighted two: One is the global economic order, where Scholz backed a multipolar system and emphasised free trade agreements. "Also in terms of Germany being the world export champion and there Scholz emphasised less this Macron idea of strategic autonomy," Lindner explained. "And the second point is industrial policy, so how strongly must ultimately the green transformation also be steered by European money and common industrial policy," Lindner said.
"I believe that both governments naturally have a strong domestic policy orientation in the current crisis situation," Lindner continues. "In Germany, that's also balancing a coalition, and in France, it's pushing through pension reform partly against the street. And in that framework, Europe is less prominent."
He says the issue of institutional reform also needs to be a big topic in the context of the upcoming EU elections, and "Germany and France are not so far apart on that."
Asked what impetus the Franco-German relationship now needs, Lindner replies that there are and should continue to be forums to advance exchanges even on issues where the two countries are "on opposite ends of the spectrum." The new meetings and formats that have been announced, including President Macron's state visit at the beginning of July, are certainly helpful here.
You can listen to the full interview (in German) here.