In the article “Re-Launching Europe”, published by Deutsche-Aussenpolitik.De, Philipp Hessel analyses Germany’s European Policy based on Chancellor Merkels “state of the union” speech held in May 2006.
Will 2007 be a breakthrough year which ends the EU’s current constitutional impasse and revives the stumbling reforms of the European economies? Or will the image of Europe as the weary continent prevail? With a challenging policy agenda ahead and the unsolved constitutional question there is common hope that pro-integrationist Germany as the bloc’s biggest economy could bring a revival to Europe’s sputtering engine when it holds the EU’s rotating presidency in the first half of 2007. This hope was raised by earlier statements from the Grand Coalition government that German European policy would assume centre-stage in the coming delicate phase and offer more leadership to the Union. The most recent comments of Ms Merkel, until then a staunch supporter of the European Constitution, are notably less ambitious than earlier signals, however. As measured against earlier these claims as well as the expectations from the European partners, the German chancellor’s speech to the Bundestag on May 11 was rather disappointing. Angela Merkel, instead of taking advantage of her relatively comfortable position at home, did not present concrete proposals for a way out of the crisis. Instead, she owed an answer to the question what Berlin’s contribution to the future of Europe could be. Merkel avoided to elaborate on the upcoming German presidency or on any specific policy areas; energy security, for instance, which is widely seen as one of the biggest issues of the 21st century, was not even mentioned in her speech.
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