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Strengthening Europe’s sovereignty

15.03.2021

by Hendrik Hartenstein

The EU must further strengthen its sovereignty if it wishes to protect the economic and social interests of its citizens and businesses in a world of global competition. In times of global governance and given the interconnectedness of its economies with the world market, this also means continuing to place European positions and proposed solutions on the agenda of global politics – though in future with added weight. Disengagement and calls for broad autonomy, by contrast, will be of no economic or political help.

Rigorous multilateralism and stable cooperation with third parties must remain the guiding principle. In the face of the growing rivalry between China and the US, especially, the EU cannot remain neutral or on the sidelines but should base its policies on common Western interests. A prerequisite for operating on a more equal footing in the Atlantic arena is that the material conditions are met and that Europe has a real strategic orientation. The EU is a market with strong purchasing power and a productive investment location with almost 450 million citizens. When the EU speaks with a single voice on foreign trade policy, this carries weight and others listen. But that is not enough. 

European capital market and digital euro

To avoid becoming the pawn of other actors in future, the EU must not only boost the global competitiveness of its economy and strengthen its common currency, it must also build on them. It needs to establish both a deeper, more integrated EU capital market and an EU digital infrastructure, including a digital euro – and both at speed. In parallel, political union must be moved forward and the various policy areas must feed into a holistic and long-term foreign policy strategy so that the EU – with sovereign confidence – can represent its interests on the world stage. 

In its current position paper, the Association of German Banks highlights the measures it believes are necessary to strengthen Europe’s sovereignty and comments on the corresponding Commission communication of 19 January 2021.

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