Major reforms of the European Union are needed to secure the future of the bloc against geopolitical changes, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Thursday at a conference on EU expansion in Berlin.
“Right now we need the strength to swim together against this crisis vortex,” Baerbock said, referring to wars being fought in Ukraine and Gaza as well as heightened tensions elsewhere. She said the EU should draw up a road map to implement key reforms during the next European Parliament term that also take into consideration sharp debate over whether to further expand the EU by adding several countries in eastern Europe, including potentially Ukraine.
Elections to select members of the next European Parliament will be held next summer. Baerbock praised the EU’s relatively united response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “a huge foreign policy achievement.” At the same time, however, she criticized the differing reactions by governments across the EU to the attacks on Israel by the Islamist militant group Hamas. European countries have “different perspectives and different roles” on important issues, Baerbock said, and it has not always been easy to find a common language.
But greater unity is needed, she said. “It is clear to all of us: we Europeans will only be able to assert ourselves in this world if we stand together,” Baerbock said. “The great European question of this time is not whether but how we should make the (European) Union stronger.”