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POLITICS

Germany backs France for ‘more sovereign’ Europe: German Foreign Minister

France and Germany bear a "special responsibility" to make the European Union a stronger world power as Paris assumes the bloc's rotating presidency, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told AFP on Friday.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock holds a press conference at the foreign office in Berlin, Germany
Annalena Baerbock became Germany's first woman top diplomat when the country's new coalition government was formed. Michael Sohn / POOL / AFP

Germany’s coalition government has said it wants to increase the bloc’s “strategic sovereignty” as rivalries between world powers such as the United States, China and Russia adversely affect the EU.

French President Emmanuel Macron has long envisioned a stronger European Union, saying he aimed to make it “powerful in the world” during France’s six-month presidency of the European Council beginning on January 1st.

Germany will also host the next G7 summit in June as president of the group of wealthy democracies, giving the EU a chance to establish global diplomatic leadership in 2022.

The two countries, “as the closest of friends at the heart of Europe, bear a special responsibility for a united European Union, capable of acting and looking towards the future,” said Baerbock.

France’s presidency is “an important opportunity we want to seize together to strengthen Europe and make it fit to rise up to tomorrow’s challenges”, she added.

“Our French friends can count on our support from the first day to the last to prepare the ground for a sustainable economic recovery, in the fight against the climate crisis, in digitalisation and for a more sovereign Europe.”

France’s priorities for its European Council presidency include a bloc-wide minimum wage, more regulation on digital giants and a carbon border tax.

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Member comments

  1. There’s only so much sovereignty to go round. A more sovereign Europe, by definition, means a less sovereign France. I wonder if that’s what people really want and if anyone will ask them.

    1. Russia is a world power in a military context, not an economic one. If the EU wants to build ‘sovereignty’ to be included in this bracket, it must have the means to defend itself like a global power and not rely on the US. This is what Putin fears and would stop him in his tracks.

      1. Since 5 member states are neutral and the rest don’t even pay what NATO expects from them , there’s no chance that the EU will ever be in a position to defend itself.

        1. Exactly. Which is what encourages the Russians to keep testing for weakness.
          The EU as a federal entity is a huge joke. It will never happen. To talk about EU sovereignty is just more hot air.

  2. Russia was promised many years ago that NATO wouldn’t be expanded into its backyard. So why is the German foreign minister supporting NATO expansion into Russian territory? Why is she fighting Nord Stream 2 which Germany needs real bad? If she wants to have a sovereign Europe why is she allowing the United States to encroach on German interests? The last thing we need is to provoke the Russian bear. Check her Wikipedia profile and you will gain an insight.

  3. Europe does need to be more sovereign and I don’t agree NATO is exactly the way to go about it. An EU army that is separate of NATO would be able to defend Europe from cyber attacks, crime, terrorism and Russian militarism. Small nations like the Baltics and Neutral states like Sweden and Finland would be best served by France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland collaborating together to present a United front against all threats.

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HEALTH

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

After the seismic decision of the US Supreme Court on Friday, French MPs are calling for the right to abortion in France to be protected by the constitution.

French lawmakers push for abortion rights to be enshrined in constitution

Lawmakers from French President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party are to propose a parliamentary bill on Saturday that would enshrine the right to abortion in the constitution. 

The move comes after the US Supreme Court overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision on Friday.

“In France we guarantee and advance the rights of women. We protect them,” said Aurore Bergé – the head of Renaissance in the Assemblée nationale and one of the key sponsors of the bill. 

Another co-sponsor, Marie-Pierre Rixain tweeted: “What happens in elsewhere cannot happen in France. We must protect the right to abortion for future generations. 

In 2018 and 2019, Emmanuel Macron’s party – which back then was known as La République en Marche – refused to back bills proposed by left-wing party, La France Insoumise, to enshrine abortion rights into the constitution. 

In a Saturday interview with France Inter, Bergé suggested that the success of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National during parliamentary elections earlier this month had created a sense of newfound urgency. 

She described the far-right MPs as “fierce opponents of women’s access to abortion” and said it was important “to take no risk” in securing it. 

READ MORE France’s Macron condemns US abortion ruling

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has come out in support of the bill. 

The left-wing opposition block, NUPES, also backs it and had planned to propose an identical piece legislation of its own on Monday. 

Macron is seeking parliamentary allies to pass reforms after his formation lost its majority in legislative elections earlier this month.

The legal timeframe to terminate a pregnancy in France was extended from 12 to 14 weeks in the last legislature.

Changing the constitution requires the National Assembly and Senate to adopt the same text, then a three-fifths majority of parliament sitting in congress. The other option is a referendum.

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