France and Germany in search for reform in EU

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The Russian – Ukrainian war that started on 24th February 2022, has affected European policy and global system significantly. The war is heading the most effective security crisis affecting the global system since the end of the Cold War in 1991. [i] Thus, the historical rivalry of the USSR against the US and NATO impacts the importance and the context of the war. The conflict caused a total break-up of the Western-Russian relations.

In the context of interdependence, Russia and the European Union have significant economic ties. While Washington demands Brussels to follow a more strict policy toward Moscow, the economic interdependence impacts the EU’s position in the context. The EU has imposed several significant sanctions on Russia including oil price policy [ii] .[iii] . However, these sanctions affect the EU economy deeply as well as Russia.

On 19th September 2023, in the meeting of European ministries in Brussels, France and Germany shared their common presentations on how the EU will adapt to the new members. According to the common handout, while Ukraine, Moldova and Western Balkan countries are preparing to join the West block, the EU needs to reform its institutions, agreements and budget . [iv]

Mainly because of the war, Europe’s enlargement to Ukraine became controversial. The expansion can have both positive and negative consequences in the context of EU institutions, policies and budget. Many scholars claim the more strict rules in the context of the superiority of the law, the new voting procedures in the European Commission and budget will be some of the reforms.

France’s and Germany’s European ministries Laurence Boone and Anna Lührmann presented the documents which is the potential suggestions package for the enlargement to the ministries in Brussels. İt is expected that 27 state leaders of the EU will analyze the issue next month in the informal meeting in Granada, Spain.

The issue became popular with the intensifying of the EU enlargement and the acceptance of the 2030 target for accessing new members by the European Commission Head Charles Michel. The document emphasizes the step by step involvement of the candidate countries to the EU policies initially.

The document puts forward ideas that would allow the enlargement of the EU without changing its agreements, which require the unanimous support of the 27 member states and a lengthy ratification process. Also included in this report is a potential “additional reform agreement” that would allow “willing” member states to move forward with treaty reform without the support of more skeptical countries . [v]

On the other hand, how to adapt the EU’s decision-making procedures to ensure that a bloc of 30 or more countries can green-light policy decisions may pose a problem at this point. As a result, it is estimated that the EU, which first appeared consolidated after the start of the Russia-Ukraine War, but then witnessed disagreements, may enter a restructuring process with the document in question.

[i] “Mikhail Gorbachev: The Soviet Leader who Helped End the Cold War”, British Broadcast Corporation News,, (Erişim Tarihi: 19.09.2023).

[ii] “EU Agrees to Set $60 Price Cap Level for Russian Oil Exports”, Bloomberg,, (Erişim Tarihi: 19.09.2023).

[iii] “Impact of EU Sanctions for European Companies in the Gulf”, Arabian Gulf Business Insight,, (Erişim Tarihi: 19.09.2023).

[iv] “Germany, France Present EU Reform Proposal as Bloc Prepares for New Members”, Euronews,, (Erişim Tarihi: 19.09.2023).

[v] “How France and Germany Think the EU Can Adapt to New Members”, Financial Times,, (Erişim Tarihi: 19.09.2023).

Zeki Talustan GÜLTEN
Zeki Talustan GÜLTEN
Zeki Talustan Gülten graduated from Yalova University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of International Relations in 2021 with his graduation thesis titled "American Foreign Policy" and from Anadolu University, Open Education Faculty, Department of Foreign Trade in 2023. Gülten, who is currently pursuing her Master's Degree with Thesis at Marmara University Institute of Social Sciences, Department of International Relations, was a student at the Faculty of International and Political Studies at Lodz University for a semester within the framework of the Erasmus+ program during her undergraduate education. Working as an Asia-Pacific Research Assistant at ANKASAM, Gülten's main areas of interest are American Foreign Policy, Asia-Pacific and International Law. Gülten is fluent in English.