• arms,
  • arms export,
  • arms trade,
  • Austerity,
  • EU army

Angela Merkel’s plans to create a ‘real’ EU army has been rebuffed by the Left group in the European Parliament.

Reacting to the German Chancellor’s ‘Future of the EU’ speech in Strasbourg this afternoon, Gabi Zimmer said such plans would undermine peace and stability, further fuelling an arms race at a time when superpowers are tearing up non-proliferation agreements and longstanding treaties:

“We’re opposed to any arms race and rearmament. What has Merkel done in 13 years as Chancellor to ensure that EU arms are not exported in particular to war zones? It’s always the arms industry’s interests that are prioritised over peace and human rights.

“She mustn’t follow Macron down the path towards a European army – a military union! Remember also that some EU member states are more trigger happy than Germany should ever be. In Germany, the parliament preserves the right to veto military action and it should remain thus.”

“Furthermore, Mrs Merkel should do everything politically and diplomatically to stop the superpowers from tearing up arms treaties and non-proliferation agreements,” she said.

Rather than wasting EU money on financing an army, Zimmer said that funds should be made available for social policies:

“We call on Merkel to finally allow the Social Union to be established. She is wrong that social policies should only be an issue for national governments. We need a Social Union that protects Europeans instead of a military union which will cause more harm than Brexit.”

Expanding on the issue of austerity, Zimmer said Merkel’s legacy is one of destruction and misery for millions across the eurozone:

“The EU´s treatment of Greece was unforgivable. Wolfgang Schäuble has perhaps been playing the role of Mephisto in all of this. But Merkel allowed herself to be misled by Mephisto down the path of austerity and she watched whilst Greece was being destroyed.”

“The blackmailing of sovereign states and the severe undermining in social standards and fundamental right helped push people into abject misery. This led to a massive erosion of trust in Europe. We need an immediate end to austerity policies.”

Zimmer also addressed the issue of Italy in light of the current fiscal disagreement between Rome and Brussels:

“In view of Italy, the German Bundesbank called for a solidarity bond in order to pay off Italy’s debt by the rich – that’s actually a good idea. It’s a redistribution from the rich to the poor. However, let’s implement that everywhere across the EU so that we don’t have to worry about the Maastricht Treaty or the Fiscal Compact and have funds available for social progress,” she argued.

Finally, on migration and refugees, Zimmer acknowledged Merkel’s positive role in allowing thousands safe passage overland back in 2014-2015. However, her subsequent inaction leaves a sour taste in the mouth:

“On migration and refugees, Merkel earned a lot of respect worldwide for not closing the borders for refugees. But how can she turn a blind eye to the thousands who have drowned in the Mediterranean? We must ensure that people have legal and secure ways to the EU – and real solidarity of all EU member states so that we can actually put into practice the values that we preach in the EU,” she concluded.

Watch Gabi Zimmer’s speech in its entirety here.

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