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