Brussels, my love? Germany's leading role in the EU & the bloc's Istanbul Convention ratification

Brussels my love breaks down European politics.
Brussels my love breaks down European politics. Copyright Euronews
Copyright Euronews
By Stefan Grobe
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In this edition of "Brussels, my love?", we take a look at Germany’s role in Europe following Chancellor Scholz’s speech before the European Parliament and ask whether the belated ratification of the Istanbul Convention to fight violence against women was a relief – or an embarrassment.


Euronews' Brussels bureau brings you its latest episode of Brussels, my love, a weekly talk show that breaks down European news and politics.

This week, we were joined at the European Parliament in Strasbourg by Maria Irish MEP Maria Walsh from the EPP, Swedish MEP Emma Wiesner from Renew and Polish MEP Robert Biedron from S&D.

The panelists discussed how the Russian attack against Ukraine has pushed European Union out of its comfort zone.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in Germany, Europe's economic powerhouse, where decades-old sacred political principles have gone overboard.

Last year, Chancellor Olaf Scholz stood before his country's parliament and declared that Germany would undertake a Zeitenwende, or an epic turning point.

This week, before the European Parliament, Scholz doubled down on this, saying that the future cannot be won by using policies of the past and advocating a more geopolitical approach for Europe.

Berlin is reworking its energy infrastructure after having spent years being dependent on Russia, and it is becoming a green energy power.

And Germany has become, albeit somewhat reluctantly, one of the biggest military supporters of Ukraine.

All this points to a more active Germany in Europe.

Yet, many member states hesitate to accept German leadership, as Berlin has often turned off its partners by promoting its own interests in the guise of doing what's best for the EU.

But who else could do the job: Macron's France? Poland?

A second topic the panelists discussed was the ratification of the Istanbul Convention by the European Parliament this week.

The document sets out comprehensive legal and policy measures to prevent violence against women and assist victims. It’s a matter of urgency.

The Swedish minister for gender equality, Paulina Brandberg, said recently:

“One in three women in the EU has experienced physical or sexual violence in her lifetime. As long as this heinous situation persists, we will not be able to make gender equality a reality.”

So is the ratification of the Istanbul Convention, six years after signing, a reason to celebrate or is it too embarrassing because it’s so late?

Watch Brussels my love in the video player above.

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