Sputnik: Is this simply a way of Macron and Merkel pursuing their common goals without the need for agreement from the rest of Europe?
Daniel Roeder: Honestly, I don't think so. I think it is vital that Franco-German ties are very close and that these two countries rely on each other in their pursuit of a unified European Union; but it is always in the context of a united Europe, it's just a matter to pursue the goals of the entire union, it's not meant to be interpreted in a way that these two countries are going their own way without the rest, without other countries' say. To the contrary I think it is meant to be a motor, it is meant to be a refresher; I like the agreement and I think it is a very positive sign.
Daniel Roeder: I think that indeed, these days, the EU is very fragile, so each country is looking at each other and trying to work out what is going on there and we are all still shocked by Brexit and what is going on there. I think there might be the risk that it is perceived like that but it is up to Germany and to France to prove that the whole agreement has just one goal — to really serve the entire EU.
If France and Germany, in the future, disregard the interest of the other countries, that would be really detrimental and I don't think that this is meant like that. And if countries speak up and say 'we think our interests are not valued enough' then that needs to be addressed. So yes, if they are concerned, then Germany and France need to show the other countries that this is not something against them, but in their interest.
Sputnik: Angela Merkel has outlined that this treaty will bring the EU closer to having its own army; do you think now is the time though for Europe to be integrating in this way at a time when we have a rise in populism and anti-EU sentiment across the continent?
Daniel Roeder: That's a very interesting question because further integration seems to be more difficult these days; however I think that in certain fields of politics there must be further integration and these fields should be the ones which are meant to address problems which can only be solved on an EU level. I think the question of defence and the question of a joint army is one of those. I think we should really aim for a joint army, this is a mid or long-term question but further integrational steps to me it seems a very sensible thing to do.
The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.