'A sovereign, strong Europe': Scholz lays out Germany's goals in his first New Year message


Germany wants to use its presidency of the G7 to push the powerful group of nations toward a greener, more socially just world, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in his first New Year's address.

"Starting tomorrow, Germany will for one year take over the presidency of the group of seven economically strong, democratic states – the G7," Scholz said in his speech on Friday. 

"We will use our presidency so that this group of states becomes a pioneer – a pioneer for a climate-neutral way of doing business and a fair world," Scholz said.



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In his previous roles as vice-chancellor and finance minister, Scholz suggested the European Union should team up with countries such as the U.S., Canada and Japan to create a "climate club" in which members agree on joint rules and common standards on how to reduce carbon emissions.

The goal of such a club would be not only to accelerate the global shift towards a more climate-friendly economy but also to avoid trade friction linked to different green tariff regimes, such as the EU's planned carbon border levy.

"International cooperation is important. In a world that will soon be home to 10 billion people, our voices will only be heard if we perform in a choir with many others," Scholz said.

That is also the reason why Germany's new coalition government is determined to strengthen the EU, said Scholz, who succeeded long-serving former Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this month.

"Our goal is a sovereign, strong Europe. A Europe that lives according to its common values ​​of peace, the rule of law, and democracy," the chancellor added.

On the issue of Ukraine, where Western countries are concerned by a Russian military build-up near its border, Scholz reiterated that the territorial integrity of Ukraine must be respected. Germany would continue to work closely with transatlantic allies to guarantee peace, he said.

"With a view on Ukraine, we are currently facing new challenges. The inviolability of borders is a high good – and not negotiable," Scholz said.

Russia denies planning to attack Ukraine and says it has the right to move its troops on its own soil as it likes.


Video editing: Beijing Feng


Cover image: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends a news conference at the European Commission. /Reuters/Johanna Geron

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