Scholz calls on EU for more global cooperation in ‘multipolar’ world

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday called for more global cooperation on equal terms instead of striving to turn the European Union into a third "world power" alongside the US and China.

"Those who are nostalgic for the dream of a European world power, those who serve national superpower fantasies, are stuck in the past," Scholz said in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

The German chancellor said the world order of the 21st century is "multi-polar" and not "bi- or tripolar."

Scholz's comments contrast with the positions of some other EU leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, who recently called for the bloc to become a global power alongside the US and China.

Scholz instead called in his speech on the EU's geopolitical orientation for negotiating new free trade agreements and partnerships on equal terms.

"Overcoming the consequences of colonialism must be an essential feature of any European partnership with the countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America," said Scholz.

Such partnerships should "leave behind the Eurocentric view of past decades," and improve food security, fight poverty and help protect the climate and the environment, he added.

Scholz named the common economic area of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, called Mercosur, Mexico, India, Indonesia, Australia and Kenya as examples for new free trade agreements.

"Europe must turn to the world," he said.

Addressing the EU's relations with China, Scholz said he continues to see Beijing as a partner despite shifts in relations.

"Our relationship with China is aptly described by the triad 'partner, competitor, systemic rival' — where rivalry and competition on China's part has undoubtedly increased," he said.

He supported a previous call by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen that the bloc should reduce risks linked to its economic dependencies from Beijing.

Scholz said investing more in security and defence, civil resilience, technological sovereignty, reliable supply chains, and independence in critical raw materials would also strengthen the EU's relation with the US.

"The United States remains Europe's most important ally," he stated.

Scholz also spoke about reform needs within the European Union, including changes necessary to admit more countries to the now 27-strong union.

More decisions would have to be taken by the majority rather than unanimity, he said. Meanwhile insisting on democratic principles and the rule of law was "indispensable," he said.

Scholz said having granted official candidate status to countries of the Western Balkans, as well as Ukraine and Moldova was "a very central decision about the shape of a geopolitical Europe."

The speech came at a symbolic date, as the EU celebrates on May 9 the lasting peace between its members that followed the end of World War II in 1945.

"War between our peoples has become unimaginable — thanks to the European Union and to the benefit of all of us," Scholz stated.

But this dream is not a reality in all European countries, he said referring to the situation in Ukraine, promising Kiev support "as long as it is necessary."

  •  Scholz
  •  EU


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