The German chancellor has addressed MEPs in Strasbourg, laying out Germany’s vision for the future of Europe. Seven months ahead of EU parliamentary elections, she gave her personal assessment of where the bloc stands.
As the clock winds down on her final term as chancellor, Angela Merkel began by looking back on the EU’s achievements and highlighting Europe’s diversity, which was also its strength, she told the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
Merkel warned that Europe’s values were under attack and she highlighted the principle of European solidarity: “We are experiencing that it is more and more difficult to speak alone and that’s why it’s so important to stand side by side.”
Only a stronger Europe, Merkel said, would be able to defend its values. “We need to take our fate into our own hands,” Merkel told the assembly.
DW reports that in a clear show of support for French President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to create a European defence force, Merkel said the EU should work on vision of a European army “that would complement NATO.” A European army, she said, would “show the world that there will never again be war between European countries.”
Addressing the challenges facing the eurozone, Merkel said the common currency could only function “if every individual member fulfills their responsibility for sustainable finances,” a clear reference to the current showdown between Italy and the EU Commission over the former’s refusal to back down from its big-spending budget, which the Commission rejected last month.