PRAGUE (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is pushing for majority votes on foreign policy and tax issues in the European Union to prevent the bloc from becoming paralysed by the vetoes of individual states as it is about to take in new members.
In the text of a speech for delivery in Prague on Monday, Scholz underlined Germany’s commitment to the enlargement of the EU, stressing that the countries of the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova and eventually also Georgia should join the bloc.
However, “in this expanded Union, the differences between the member states will grow as far as political interests, economic clout and social security systems are concerned”, Scholz said in the text.
“Where unanimity is required today, the risk of an individual country using its veto and preventing all the others from forging ahead increases with each additional member state,” he added.
“I have therefore proposed a gradual transition to majority voting in common foreign policy, but also in other areas, such as tax policy – knowing full well that this would also have repercussions for Germany,” he added.
Majority voting could start in areas “in which it is particularly important that we speak with one voice” such as sanctions policy or on issues relating to human rights.
(Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Robert Muller, Jason Hovet; Editing by Paul Carrel)