In her eagerly awaited speech on the future of the EU in front of the European Parliament, on 13 November 2018, German Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned diversity as the concept that defines Europe and tolerance as the basic requirement that brings Europe together.
Europe, Merkel argued, has gone through many challenges over the past decade, such as the sovereign debt crisis, the terrorist threat, conflicts in neighbouring countries, migration, but also Brexit, digitalisation, climate change. This is why, she said, solidarity is the way forward. In her view, Europeans showed they are capable of working together when they decide to support regions in their economic development, when they help each other in the event of natural disasters, or when they acted as parachutes in the European sovereign crisis.
However, the German Chancellor mentioned also that “solidarity goes hand in hand with responsibility for the whole community.” Specifically, she said, this means “who erodes constitutional principles in this country [or] who trims the rights of the opposition and civil society.” She argued that “those who rely on solving problems through more debts and disregard commitments that they have made put into question the strength and stability of the euro area,” because “our common currency can only work if every single member meets their responsibility for sound finances at home.”
Angela Merkel highlighted the three areas on which Europeans should work together: foreign and security policy, the European economic policy; and migration. For all three priorities, she drew a roadmap with specific recommendations. At the end, she stressed her conviction that the EU is “our best chance of lasting peace, of lasting prosperity and a secure future,” and warned against “what happens if communities like the Ligue of Nations, which was founded after the First World War, fail.”