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IEP Lunch Debate with Dr. Andreas Schockenhoff: “Germany and France as the old and new core of Europe”

Andreas Schockenhoff and Katrin Böttger

Dr. Andreas Schock­enhoff, deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parlia­mentary group of the German Bundestag and chairman of the German-French Parlia­mentary Friendship Group, spoke about “Germany and France as the old and new core of Europe” at an IEP lunch debate on 23 April 2012. He stressed the signif­i­cance of Germany and France with regard to the European integration process, even in a union of 27 member states. He added however, that this core needed to find additional partners for an enhanced cooper­ation to further develop the integration project.

Concerning the preceding French election campaign, Schock­enhoff pointed out that European topics shaped a national campaign for the first time. He empha­sized that the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy went into the campaign with necessary but unpopular austerity policies. Meanwhile, his socialist counterpart François Hollande announced that he would not ratify the European Fiscal Compact without a reference to fostering growth. The Fiscal Compact had been signed by all member states on 2 March 2012, except for the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom. Schock­enhoff made it clear that if Hollande would be elected president and would maintain his position on the Fiscal Compact, the Bundestag could not ratify it.

Concerning the NATO summit in Chicago on 20/21 May 2012, Schock­enhoff under­lined that common security and defense policies would not be possible without the involvement of the United Kingdom. The aim of the summit would be the pooling and sharing of defense struc­tures according to the concept of smart defense. In the ensuing debate, Schock­enhoff empha­sized that this would only be possible with a stronger partic­i­pation of the parliaments.