Philosophy meets politics: On Thursday (16 March) Foreign Minister Gabriel, French presidential candidate Macron and philosopher Habermas discussed the future of Europe and of the EU in the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. Before the event, Gabriel had received Macron at the Federal Foreign Office.
Plea for a strong Europe
All three men were in agreement: discussing the future of Europe in the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and philosopher Jürgen Habermas all called for a strong Europe and a strong European Union.
“We have invested half a century in an enormously demanding project. Is there any reason at all to terminate that project, a project which has in the main brought progressive success?” asked Habermas. Macron, too, called for a resolute commitment to the EU, saying: “If you are a timid European, you are a European who has already lost the battle.”
Gabriel: Germany is a net winner from European integration
Not even Europe’s big countries could survive on their own: “Germany can prosper only when Europe prospers,” added Foreign Minister Gabriel. In consequence, he went on, Germany was not only – as often claimed – a net contributor to European integration, but above all a net winner from it.
The current “bubbling of national emotions” was the result of 30 years of rhetoric critical of the EU, Gabriel emphasised. Nevertheless, it was clear, he continued, that reforms were needed. For example, added Habermas, the structural and financial inequalities within the eurozone needed to be removed.
Macron: A clear course for Europe
Before the event in the Hertie School of Governance, Gabriel had received Macron at the Federal Foreign Office. That meeting, too, was all about Europe. The previous day’s elections in the Netherlands had sent “a clear signal for Europe”, Gabriel said. “I am sure this will be repeated in France,” he continued, referring to the French presidential elections due to take place in a few weeks.
Macron, said Gabriel, was a candidate “who steers a clear and unmistakable course for Europe”. France, Gabriel said, needed a president with a clear orientation towards Europe. Germany wanted France not only as a founding member of the EU, but above all as a partner to continue in future to provide new impetus for European integration.