France, Sweden and Germany are to continue pushing ahead with European integration and advocating a social Europe based on solidarity. At the 3rd Tegel summer conference in Villa Borsig on 11 July, the Ministers for European Affairs of the three countries issued a joint statement proposing inter alia more investment in employment and education.
This was the third time Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth together with his French colleague Harlem Désir issued an invitation to the Federal Foreign Office’s guest house for talks on European policy. After Italy and Spain in previous years, Sweden’s Minister for EU Affairs and Trade Ann Linde was this year’s guest in Berlin’s Tegel district.
"The EU needs resolute progress"
With their Tegel statement, the three countries sent a clear signal that efforts to build a united Europe based on solidarity must not wane in the light of the British referendum. “We all deeply regret the route that Britain has chosen. But we now need rapid and resolute progress for the other EU member states, particularly as none of the major challenges we face are going to solve themselves,” as Roth outlined immediately after the meeting. And Désir added: “Even if it isn’t going to be easy: We need to work on a better Europe with 27 member states and ensure that progress on Britain’s withdrawal is fast, fair and transparent.” The Ministers for European Affairs advocate more investment in growth and employment, action based on solidarity when it comes to migration and integration, a joint climate policy and the clear commitment to the European Union as a union of shared values.
Underlining the advantages of Europe
Talking about Europe needs to be more than just reporting on crises, as the three Ministers for European Affairs agreed. Swedish Minister Linde felt the many practical advantages of Europe are not emphasised often enough. “We must not allow populists to carp about Europe. What we need to do despite all the crises is talk about the many day-to-day advantages we have, a prime example being the gradual reduction of mobile roaming charges in the EU”, as the Minister pointed out.
After the trilateral meeting, Minister of State for Europe Roth extended an invitation to a summer party to say thank you to many partners from civil society, politics and culture for their cooperation.