European policy for an effective EU
At the latest since the beginning of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, which violates international law, it has become clear that the European peace and economic project must be further developed in order to be able to face the challenges of our time. This requires a common foreign policy, an energy union and first, sustainable steps towards an EU army.
After 365 days: Ukraine's future must be in Europe
One year after the start of Russia's large-scale war of aggression on Ukraine, Volt's MEP Damian Boeselager, Anastasiia Vozovych of Volt in Ukraine and Volt Europe Chairs Francesca Romana D'Antuono and Reinier van Lanschot show in this opinion piece why Ukraine's future lies in Europe. (in German: watson, 24.02.2023)
Common foreign policy
Our demand: The European External Action Service (EADS) representations around the world should be transformed into official EU embassies. In this way, the weight of the EU can be used in diplomatic missions. The EU is also to be given exclusive competence for foreign policy. Trade policy clearly shows that the EU is much more powerful and can act better for the benefit of all members if it speaks with one voice rather than 27 individual special interests.
We also call for the lifting of the right of veto in the UN Security Council in cases of human rights violations and humanitarian emergencies. This step is already supported by many countries and would be a short-term reform of the Security Council in the absence of long-term reforms. The veto for a few countries is a relic of the post-war period of World War II and is currently exploited by Russia (but also by other veto powers when the time comes) and deeply contradicts the democratic principle.
The combined armed forces of the 27 EU members number almost 2 million soldiers. By unifying the national armies, the EU would be in a position to ensure its own security, to represent its interests in the world with the necessary credibility, even vis-à-vis major powers like China, and to better ensure global stability. And all this without spending one euro more, but with the existing budgets of the countries.
As a first step towards an EU army, a common defence procurement must be established. The recently decided modernisation of the Bundeswehr must be carried out within the framework of joint European procurement measures in order to avoid wasting billions of euros. Joint European procurement, on the other hand, can save billions. Some projects, such as the Eurofighter, would be made possible in the first place.
A European army would cement peace within Europe in an unprecedented way and bring the Union a big step closer to statehood.
Since the beginning of the war, 35 billion euros have flowed from the EU to Russia for energy imports (as of 06.04.2022, source: Tagesschau). Germany is also indirectly financing the war of aggression on Ukraine with several billion euros a month.
That is why we have to free ourselves from energy imports from non-EU countries. To do this, we must, on the one hand, massively push the expansion of renewable energies and, on the other hand, promote energy saving at all levels.
We can achieve this, for example, by introducing a speed limit. In addition, climate-damaging subsidies should be abolished and these funds should flow into climate-friendly and energy-saving technology. We strive for a pan-European energy strategy that prioritises CO2 neutrality by 2035, e.g. by creating a pan-European electricity grid.
In the short term, we also call for a comprehensive energy embargo. That the complete renouncement of the use of Russian gas is still possible in 2022 was confirmed by a recent study of the German Institute for Economic Research. It is obvious that the dependence on Russian gas is very high and that imports are difficult to replace in the short term. However, if Russian oil and gas in particular were to be sanctioned by the EU, this would noticeably limit the Russian state's ability to act. The EU must stand up for its values, prioritise peace in Ukraine and support each other on energy security issues.