Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who succeeded Angela Merkel as the leader of the Christian Democratic Union in December 2018, has lashed out at statism or centralism and suggested combating populism in a column for the respected German newspaper Welt on Sunday. Her op-ed, titled "Fixing Europe" (“Europa Richtig Machen”) followed an article by French President Emmanuel Macron outlining his European plans, and presented proposals for future cooperation in all major policy areas in Europe. The main goal is summed up with the idea that "Our Europe must be stronger" and is about securing the foundations of European prosperity.
To reach this goal, Kramp-Karrenbauer, popularly known as AKK, has proposed the creation of a "single market for banks".
"At the same time, we must bet on a system of subsidiarity, individual responsibility and related liability. European centralism, European statism, the communitisation of debts, a Europeanisation of social systems and the minimum wage would be the wrong way", she noted in the article.
Another issue, the current CDU leader, touted as a possible future Chancellor, also focused on, is environmental problems. AKK proposed "a European pact for climate protection” that should be forged by European and national, democratically legitimated actors representing industries, employees, and society.
Kramp-Karrenbauer supported Macron in terms of refugee policy and called for “an agreement on complete border protection”.
"Our sense of community and security in Europe needs safe external borders. We have to complete Schengen”, the CDU leader stated, saying an “electronic entry and exit register" as well as the "extension of the Schengen Information System" are necessary in order to allow national and European authorities to use a unified, shared data system.
AKK insisted that Europe's migration policy must be reorganised in accordance to the principle of interconnected vessels.
"Each member state must contribute to the fight against causes of migration, the protection of borders and the reception of newcomers. But the more it does in one area, the lesser its contribution should be in the other fields", she outlined.
She also elaborated on the integration of Muslim immigrants, which remains a central challenge to European society. According to AKK, many currents of Islam are "incompatible with our [European] ideas of an open society", so she suggested setting up "trainings for our own imams and teachers in this spirit" of enlightenment and tolerance.
Speaking about reforming European foreign and security policy, Kramp-Karrenbauer called for granting the EU "a common permanent seat on the UN Security Council”, adding that Europeans “should decide on a common foreign policy and joint actions within the security policy in a European Security Council that includes the United Kingdom”. At the same time, she proposed creating a separate “National Security Council for the development of strategic guidelines" in Germany. As for internal European policies, she demanded that the European Parliament, which now has seats in Strasbourg and Brussels, be located exclusively in the Belgian capital, as well as taxing the income of EU officials.