German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock today called for a fundamental reform of the functioning of the European Union, which, according to her, is a condition for the acceptance of Ukraine and other countries. According to her, the Union should abandon unanimous decision-making or reorganize the Commission, in which each state would not have to have its own commissioner.
This was reported by the Reuters agency and the Brussels website Politico. A number of particularly smaller member countries have long disagreed with the limitation of unanimity.
“We cannot simply allow the European Parliament and the Commission to keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” she told a meeting with colleagues from other European countries in Berlin. “We have to make bold, courageous decisions. Countries like Germany, for example, we are ready to be without our own commissioner for a limited time,” said the head of German diplomacy.
In recent months, the voices of government politicians calling for the reform of the decision-making processes of the union have been heard from Berlin, but also from Paris. The EU’s two largest countries want the 27-nation bloc to limit the requirement for unanimous decision-making on some issues. This currently applies to foreign and security policy or tax issues. Proponents of the change argue, for example, the approach of Hungary, whose government blocked the adoption of some joint decisions from anti-Russian sanctions to the global corporate tax.
However, the government officials of a number of countries, including the Czech Republic, are skeptical about more fundamental changes, such as limiting the number of European Commissioners, saying that they fear a reduction in the influence of their states on the functioning of the union.
However, Baerbock pointed out that in order for the EU to function effectively after the planned enlargement, it must adjust some of its principles.
“The European Union must expand. This is a geopolitical consequence of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine,” said the German green politician. According to her, the leaders of the EU states could say a clear word at the December summit. There, they should debate the official start of accession talks with Ukraine, which are being pushed for especially by countries from the eastern wing of the EU.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba pointed out today that EU reform and its enlargement should not be linked. “EU reform should not hold enlargement hostage, we need to find the right balance,” Kuleba said in Berlin.
In addition to Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and six Balkan countries are seeking to join the EU. EU officials estimate that enlargement by the end of this decade is not very realistic, even given the complexity of the admission process and the necessary unanimity.