Sven Giegold

Scholz’ speech on Europe: A missed opportunity

On today’s speech on Europe, held by Federal Minister of Finance Olaf Scholz at the Humboldt University Berlin, Sven Giegold, spokesman for Bündnis 90/Die Grünen in the European Parliament comments:

„Scholz convincingly argued that Europe appears weak because it avoids the difficult debates. Scholz’s proposals, however, fail to live up to his own expectations. Scholz has not provided any strong answers to Europe’s weaknesses. Scholz presented the familiar instead of a new vision. This was not a Europe speech of the format of an Emmanuel Macron or Joschka Fischer. Scholz did not make new substantial proposals for economic and monetary policy. The most sensitive issue, the German export surplus, was hushed up by the Finance Minister. The German current account surplus is the central problem for all other Euro countries. Higher investments and higher wages in Germany are not only fair and future-oriented, they also keep Europe together.

Although Scholz calls for a stronger ESM and generally more democratic control of euro policy, he does not want to strengthen the European Parliament for this. More democracy in the euro zone must mean more European democracy. The European Monetary Fund should strengthen the community institutions instead of becoming a body of nation states.

Scholz also sees a gap between analysis and consequences in trade policy: If EU trade policy is to set hard social and environmental standards, the current trade agreements should not be signed. Europe can only become a pioneer in climate protection if the German government finally ends its blockade of ambitious climate measures. Climate protection needs a European industrial policy with high ecological standards. Scholz remained silent about this too. On the whole, unfortunately, one has to state: Scholz’s speech was unambitious and unemotional. With their questions, for example on the low amount of the eurozone budget, on slowing down the digital tax and on European democracy, the students put their finger in the wound.“