Lindner: «No to the usage of EU public cash within the protection sector» | EUROtoday

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BRUSSELS – The electoral marketing campaign in view of the June vote has begun. The subjects are dominated by the conflict in Ukraine and its European penalties. While new types of integration are being mentioned among the many Twenty-Seven, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner is cautious. In an interview, the politician rejected the thought of ​​investing European cash in protection. Of his compatriot Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, he says that “she is a threat to our competitiveness and our economic well-being, if she does not change her political ideas”.
Since taking the reins of the German Liberal Party (FDP), as soon as led by Hans-Dietrich Genscher (1927-2016), Christian Lindner, 45, has defended a maybe not nationalist, however actually confederal imaginative and prescient of the European Union; even when the upheavals of latest years don’t depart him detached. He is aware of nicely, for instance, that there’s a actual chance of a return of the controversial President Donald Trump to the White House within the subsequent American elections.
“A single market” for protection
“We must invest in and strengthen our defense capabilities, within NATO. We have to do our homework, regardless of who is elected to the White House – explains Minister Lindner to a group of European newspapers, including Il Sole/24 Ore –. We need a new era of structural reforms. If we follow this path, working towards greater competitiveness on the one hand, and strengthening our defense capabilities on the other, we will be a partner of the United States on equal terms.”
The European Commission has just presented a strategic plan to promote the military industry. Former Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi recently suggested investing European money. Our interlocutor has a different opinion: “Europe must invest more in defense, but this does not mean that the European Union must do so. This is a fundamental responsibility of the member states (…) in a context which, as I said, is that of NATO”.
That said, the minister is in favor of the figure of defense commissioner: “It is not a question of investing taxpayers' money in national armed forces at a European level, but of creating a single market, adopting coordinated procurement, strengthening innovation in the defence”. The German minister is also open to reviewing the mandate of the European Investment Bank: “I am open to allowing the bank to invest more in the defense sector. We could start with further investments in dual-use technologies (civil and military, ed.) and in research. Once we have made progress in this area, we will be able to evaluate whether or not the mandate needs to be changed.”
Private investments
Minister Lindner does not believe in the need for new European debt, despite the immense German difficulties in financing expensive commitments in the environmental, digital and military fields, in a context in which, moreover, Germany has its hands tied on the national spending front after having adopted in the Constitution the Schuldenbremse, the controversial debt brake: “The narrative according to which we need new public money is incomplete,” he says.
“There is already a lot of public sector money on the table – adds our interlocutor -. Think of NextGenerationEU: the money hasn't been spent yet. The absorptive capacity of some European economies is not strong enough to use the available funds. Why should we consider additional public sector funding, when existing programs have not yet been used? My answer to your question about the financing of the future is the capital markets union. We need more private sector money.”
From the subsequent report on European competitiveness ready by former president Draghi, the German politician expects, amongst different issues, strategies to scale back paperwork, undertake structural reforms and mobilize personal investments. Asked why Germany is obstructing harmonization of company insolvency guidelines, he replies: “We are ready to make progress.” As for the latest reform of the Stability Pact, he defines it as “balanced” because it strengthens “the tradition of stability, however on the identical time we enable investments and acknowledge the reform efforts”.
“The technocrats at the blackboard”
Minister Lindner adds, after claiming that the rate of public investment in Germany is now “at an all-time excessive”: “Having stated that, it’s not only a query of cash, however of constructing a selection.
Who decides the longer term construction of our economies? Politicians and public officers? Or is it competitors, innovation? My selection (…) is that it’s folks, personal firms, buyers, scientists who outline the longer term construction of our economies, and never the technocrats on the blackboard”.
These days, the noun “technocrats” is misplaced on the lips of a German consultant, particularly within the authorities. On the opposite hand, Christian Lindner can also be crucial of the present president of the group government whose management she has simply re-nominated: “The personalization of bureaucracy bears the name of von der Leyen”. He reproaches her for having most popular “regulation to innovation” (he’s pondering of the Green Pact, and particularly environmental laws on vehicles). Ms von der Leyen and the Commission “are focusing an excessive amount of on creating new bureaucratic laws. To hold the thought of ​​European unity enticing, I imagine we should return to the guts of the matter, particularly freedom.”
The tone of the German Finance Minister is election campaign. While in Germany Alternative für Deutschland fluctuates around 20% of the votes, the FDP fears a disappointing result (according to polls it would obtain 4% of the votes). 30 years after the Maastricht Treaty, and despite the succession of serious global crises that have revealed the many merits of the Union, Christian Lindner continues to embrace a confederal vision of European construction, based on the national principle of Haus in Ordnung, according to the which if all countries keep their house in order the union travels happily.

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