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For a strong and united Europe


For a strong and united Europe

In his policy statement "Courage for peace and courage for change" of March 14, 2003 Chancellor Gerhard Schröder underscored the need for a strong and united Europe in international politics. Schröder called for public acceptance of domestic reforms so that Germany will be able to do justice to its responsibility in and for Europe.

"We will only be able to assume our full responsibility and ability to influence decision-making in a multipolar world order aimed at promoting peace and the rule of law, if we do so on the basis of a strong and united Europe," Schröder said, noting that what is involved is not only the role of Europe in international politics, but also its ability to make its own decisions in the world of tomorrow."

These two things can only be preserved, Schröder said, if we become more flexible in economic and social policy matters and show more solidarity - in Germany, Europe's largest country in terms of economic strength, as well as in the rest of Europe. He said the connection between economic and social potentials, on the one hand, and Germany's role in Europe and Europe's role in the world, on the other hand, must not be lost sight of.

Europe - exporter of peace and stability

Schröder stressed that Europe can and must export peace, stability, justice, economic strength, and opportunities for development, adding that to be able to do this "we need to get ourselves in shape."

Schröder indicated that Germany is making a significant political and financial contribution towards this. He called to mind the fact that Germany is by far the largest net payer in the European Union. "We finance a fourth of the European Union and pay around seven billion euros more into the European budget than we get back." He said Germany accepts this not only because Europe is based on the conviction that cooperation is better than confrontation but also because the European social model - based on social participation instead of the domination of unbridled market forces - can only be made weatherproof against the storms of globalization in a joint effort.

Industrial policy initiative

Germany, France and Great Britain have submitted joint proposals on European industrial policy, proposals aimed a ensuring a future for the European shipbuilding and chemicals industries, proposals aimed at improving the competitiveness of European industry.

They are to be discussed with the other European partners at the forthcoming EU summits in Brussels and Athens.

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