German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock says the European Union must reform if it is to accept new member states such as Ukraine or the Balkan states. According to her, the current model, where each state has its own MEPs and European Commissioners, would be unsustainable in the event of enlargement. Baerbock also wants to change the veto rule, which allows one country to block a decision.
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Description: European Parliament in Strasbourg
Baerbock proposed the abolition of the current system in which each of the 27 member countries has its own European Commissioner. Her proposal, which according to her is a necessary reform in the case of accepting new members, especially frightened the smaller EU countries, which would have almost lost any influence.
“The European Parliament and the European Commission cannot simply be allowed to grow and grow, to become bigger and bigger. We must make bold and brave decisions. For example, countries like Germany – we are prepared to do without our own commissioner for a limited time,” suggested by Bearbock, according to Politico.eu with essential portfolios, for example, being divided between several member countries at once.
In addition, the Green politician proposed changing the unanimity rule, which allows one member state to veto EU initiatives in certain cases, including in highly sensitive areas such as taxes and foreign policy.
The German foreign minister’s comments come ahead of a key summit of EU leaders in mid-December in Brussels, where debates will take place on the admission of Ukraine and the Balkan countries. It is Bearbock who advocates for the admission of new members, especially Ukraine.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime situation for us. We want Ukraine to become a member of our European Union, and I am convinced that the December European Council will send this signal,” said Baerbock.
“However, the enlarged EU will only be stronger if we do what we have hesitated to do for so long – review and rethink the way our (European) Union works,” repeated the German foreign minister, as reported by the Reuters agency.
In addition, in the case of Ukraine and other potential new members, Bearbock suggests a change of approach where the country either accepts or does not. According to her, the procedure should be such that the countries already start enjoying some benefits such as the Schengen area, university studies on Erasmus programs and the like, although they will not yet be full members.
“We cannot use an ‘either-or’ system. For example, acceding countries should be allowed to participate in EU Council meetings before they become full members. We should ensure that the people of these countries, especially young people, get the opportunity to share in the benefits of the European Union at an early stage, even before their country becomes a full member of the EU,” added Bearbock.
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author: Jakub Makarovič
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