Soltz meets Macron on Ukraine, EU qualified majority and proposal for association with non-member countries

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The war in Ukrainethe French proposal to create a political association scheme and coordination between Member States of The European Union and other European countries, the European perspective of the Western Balkans and possibility of applying the qualified majority to EU decisionswere the main points of the press conference given recently by the Chancellor of Germany Olaf Solts and the President of France Emanuel Macronon the latter’s first visit abroad since his re-election.

“The war in Ukraine has once again forged Europe, Germany and France. “We are determined to defend the very foundations of our existence with all our might,” said Mr Soltz, while Macron reaffirmed Europe’s intention to continue to support Ukraine militarily, financially and humanitarianly. The two leaders have repeatedly stressed the need for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine in order for negotiations to continue, with Olaf Solz reiterating that a Moscow-mandated peace cannot be accepted. The French president, referring to Vladimir Putin’s speech today, noted that he did not bring any escalation, in terms of geography or use of weapons, “but that is not enough, a ceasefire is required.”

With regard to the prospect of Ukraine joining the European Union, Emanuel Macron reiterated what he had previously said in the European Parliament, that the process could take a long time, even if it is accelerated. He also proposed the creation of an EU cooperation scheme with various countries that are not members, but share European values. “A new format is needed, which will bring with it new forms of solidarity and respond to geography,” he said, referring to Britain or Bosnia-Herzegovina. “This is about stability in Europe,” he said. The German chancellor spoke of a “very interesting proposal, which, however, should not undermine the prospects for the accession of states” such as those in the Western Balkans, stressing on the one hand that a strong and sovereign Europe can only function if the criteria are met. concerning the rule of law, democracy and the economy, but also that there are countries with views that are very relevant to ours, which want to work with the EU.

Both leaders made special reference to the European perspective of the countries of the Western Balkans, in the context of the new geopolitical situation in Europe. Emanuel Macron, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council for the current six months, has even announced a Franco-German summit on the Western Balkans, which he said will take place before the June summit. The countries of the region have made courageous and courageous decisions, Mr. Solz noted and referred specifically to the case of Northern Macedonia. “We must find a way so that this courage is not disappointed,” he said, referring to the need to start the accession process.

Asked about the unanimity required for EU decisions, Olaf Solz said there were a number of proposals and “where there can be consensus, Germany will certainly participate and it will certainly not be the one to stop it.” He also stressed, however, that greater efficiency could be achieved in the EU in many areas, without the need to change the Treaties, provided that the Member States agreed in which areas the qualified majority would apply. Mr Macron, for his part, spoke in favor of qualified majority decision-making in areas such as fiscal policy and security policy. “This debate must continue and we must reach a conclusion, for a more effective and sovereign Europe, and I believe that this is a point of identification between France and Germany,” said the French president, while clarifying that it does not concern current decisions such as on sanctions against Russia.

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