Olaf Schulz emphasized that Germany is a European country fully committed to the European Union. He said German policy “feels directly responsible for European progress”.
He stated that it was important to preserve European unity, among other things, to combat the coronavirus epidemic.
In response to a question, he also spoke about the fact that gas will play an important role in Europe’s green transition, although, he said, priorities differ from country to country. He described it as important for Germany, following its commitments, to achieve the goal of climate neutrality by 2045 through the widespread use of renewable energies. Schulze also pointed out the role of hydrogen in the process of greening.
In the context of the pressure of the Russian military unit on the Ukrainian border, he explained that in the event of a violation of Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity, Germany will jointly respond to the European Union. “The task is to prevent escalation,” the German chancellor added.
Ursula von der Leyen said that since Germany has always played an important role in shaping the European Union, the European Commission is open to strong cooperation with the new German government. Referring to the new chancellor’s election on Wednesday, he stressed that Olaf Schulz’s quick visit to Brussels highlights “how important the European Union is to Germany”.
“Germany has been very important and will always be very important for the development of our society. Therefore, your early visit to the European Commission is a very encouraging sign for all of us,” he said.
In response to a question, the head of the Brussels Council also said that the EU was ready to intensify austerity measures against Moscow if necessary. However, he said, the EU should not only tighten sanctions against Russia, but also implement new financial and economic measures.
But he stressed that the European Union wanted Moscow to ease military pressure on the Ukrainian border and for Russia to stop all aggression. He said that the EU wanted good relations with Russia, but this depended on Moscow’s behaviour. Von der Leyen added that Russia is taking a threatening attitude towards its neighbors, which undermines Europe’s security.
The new chancellor also held talks with Charles Michel, President of the European Council. In his speech, Michel stressed that the rule of law and fundamental values are at the heart of the European project, and that strengthening and strengthening them is important for the Union.
“We need to work together to meet the challenges facing the union. We need to be able to transform those challenges into growth, economic development, innovation and job creation,” he said.
He stated that the common knowledge and experience of the European Council, which brings together the leaders of the member states of the European Union, can effectively contribute to the dissemination of core values and the protection of the interests of the European Union by identifying the necessary means. Charles Michel added that it must also be committed to maintaining security and stability by adopting an ambitious European agenda.
Olaf Schultz emphasized in a short press conference with Charles Michel that Berlin is responsible for the future of the European Union.
“For the success of our common aspirations, as a committed European and as a great and powerful economic power, he will not remain neutral,” he added.
Editorial photo: MTI / EPA / Reuters pool / Johanna Geron
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