CDU leader Friedrich Merz has accused Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) of a lack of commitment to the further development of the European Union. On Tuesday in Berlin at the “Business Day” of the Economic Council of the CDU, with a view to the Ukraine war and its consequences, Merz said that Germany, together with France, must be ready to assume a leading role in Europe.

Scholz, however, is in the process of missing a “historic opportunity” and a “historic responsibility” and falling back into old patterns. Merz spoke of a “cloak” of prudence and restraint. But this is actually hesitancy and fear of responsibility.

When Scholz made his government statement after the start of the Ukraine war at the end of February and spoke of a “turning point”, many had the feeling of being “witnesses of a historic moment” – in which the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany was leading this country out of the restraint of the past years and decades and lead into a leadership role that many rightly expected. “It was a brief historic moment,” said Merz.

Germany must be prepared to take on leadership responsibilities in Europe and in the world. “We need strategic answers to the great challenges of our time and those we may still face.”

There is not a single visible initiative by Scholz to further develop the EU, criticized Merz. For example, he mentioned a proposal together with France to break the principle of unanimity in foreign and security policy.

The Economic Council is an association close to the CDU with around 12,000 members, but it is not a sub-organization of the CDU.