German chancellor calls for EU reforms, military autonomy

Oct 15, 2022, 5:53 AM | Updated: 5:55 am
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a speech during a congress of the Party of European Socialis...

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a speech during a congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES) in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

(AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday called for reforms of the European Union to make it fit for the admission of new countries as well as more military autonomy of the 27-country bloc.

Speaking at the Congress of the Party of European Socialists in Berlin, Scholz advocated for gradually abolishing the principle of unanimity for decisions in foreign policy, but also in other areas such as tax policy.

“I know that we still have a lot of convincing to do there,” the chancellor said. “But I also say clearly: if a geopolitical Europe is our aspiration, then majority decisions are a gain and not a loss of sovereignty.”

Currently, many EU decisions can only be made if all countries vote unanimously.

Scholz also supports more military autonomy of the EU. He called for coordinated procurement of weapons and equipment, the establishment of an EU rapid reaction force by 2025, and a EU headquarters for European armed forces.

“In Europe, we need better interplay between our defense efforts,” he said. “In the future, Europe will need a coordinated increase in capabilities … we must confidently and jointly advance European defense.”

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              An unidetified person takes a selfie with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, during a congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES) in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
            
              People hold protest poster during a congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES) in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022 to protest against the government in Iran in memory of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian woman who died after being arrested in Tehran by Iran's 'morality police'. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
            
              German Chancellor Olaf Scholz delivers a speech during a congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES) in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

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German chancellor calls for EU reforms, military autonomy