[DIPLOMACY] A Step For a Better Europe – Proposals
An Invitation from Paris
Président Macron would like to tackle internal matters within the European Union first, as the European Project is close to his heart and would like to invite EU leaders to Palais de l'Élysée as well as Council President Tusk and Commission President Juncker to discuss French proposals to improve areas of cooperation within the EU.
As the President sees it, we must all strive for a Europe that protects Europeans. It is time to say that on the major challenges of our time (security, migration, trade, digital …), true sovereignty is a matter of European action in a renewed democratic framework. This implies that Europe concentrates on these major challenges and dares to defend its interests and values in the world. Europe is an essential achievement.
The European Union remains the best guarantee of peace on the continent and to halt threats on the European Union's borders – which have profound effects on all member states. However, we have just lived since 2005 a lost decade, and a feeling of distance has developed towards the European Union. While a founding member and as much as it pains Président Macron to admit, the French feel a confiscation of the European project and no longer trust the institutions. It has seen the rise of Front national and other far-right parties in all our states.
The challenge in Europe today is threefold: to take the time to debate and restore confidence, to reaffirm the 5 dimensions of European sovereignty and to reinforce European identity through concrete achievements.
We are required to take time to debate and restore confidence in Europe. Today , European debates are all too often perceived as distant and technical, without citizens being able to intervene effectively.
France proposes the foundations of the new European Union will be laid at the end of a broad citizen consultation, at national and European level. We are responsible for the continuity of the EU, not involving our citizens in shaping that openly is a flaw in how the Union has developed and undercuts its aims.
We will propose to our partners to launch democratic conventions throughout the EU by the end of 2020. For a period of six to ten months, in each State, in a way that allows for the choice of governments and local authorities, a European debate will be held on the content of the Union's action and the priorities it must have. Building on these debates, European governments will draw up a short road map, with some common challenges and specific actions, laying down the Union's priorities for action and their implementation timetable for the next five years.
We will put in place European lists to elect the 73 MEPs corresponding to the British seats in the European Parliament. If the timetable of the Brexit negotiations allows, this change can take place as early as the European elections in June 2019.
Objective 2: Strengthen the European Union on the five dimensions of sovereignty.
European sovereignty over subjects where the continental level is the most relevant. As a result, the European Union remains in the middle of the ford and weighs little in the world. Tomorrow we will take a stronger European action on the major challenges that we can better solve together, focusing the European Union on these issues.
1. The Europe of security A Europe that protects its borders while respecting its values.
- We will propose to our partners to strengthen the European Border Police, by giving it a capacity to monitor and protect the external borders. The target is 10,000 men mobilized by the new European Border Guard and Coast Guard Agency – a new agency that will be shaped from Frontex, however given greater legal powers to halt, search and seize all determined threats entering the Schengen Zone. They will halt smugglers and also oversee the return of migrants and failed asylum seekers to their country of origin. Compliance with these commitments will be verified at an annual conference of justice ministers and leaders. This will be taken into account in the main balances of ODA policy. We would like to see this new agency be granted permission to begin their first operations in the Aegean Sea. This would be in cooperation with EURONAVAL, in recommendation of fellow members states
A Europe of defense based on concrete cooperation.
We will propose to create a European Defense Fund which will finance common military equipment (eg European drone) and joint military research and development programs.
We will propose the establishment of a permanent European Headquarters for the planning and control of European defense operations, in close cooperation with national command centers and NATO.
We will propose to create a European Security Council bringing together the main military, diplomatic and intelligence leaders of the member states. For this purpose, we will establish a specific cooperation between the Member States who wish to advance together on defense matters without waiting for the participation of all the EU countries.
Police and judicial cooperation for effective action at European level.
We will propose to establish a genuine European information system to facilitate intelligence actions: a centralized database with a compulsory exchange of information, accessible to the intelligence services of the different Member States.
We will propose to strengthen and harmonize the security of identity cards (biometrics) which information would be stored on a European Union-wide system.
** 2. The Europe of Growth.**
We will propose to create a budget for the euro area with 3 functions (investment for the future, emergency financial assistance and response to economic crises).
Access to this budget will depend on compliance with common tax and social rules (to avoid dumping within the euro area).
We will propose the creation of a post of eurozone minister of the economy and finance, who will be responsible for the euro area budget, under the supervision of a euro-zone parliament, bringing together the european parliamentarians from the member states .
We will demand that a set of European social rights be established by setting minimum standards for training rights, health cover, unemployment insurance or minimum wage/collectively-agreed wage (at levels that take account of unequal development Member States).
3. Europe that protects in globalization. Fair global competition, which protects European companies.
We will defend the strengthening of anti-dumping instruments, which must be more deterrent and more reactive (eg to combat unfair competition from countries such as China and India on steel).
We will defend a "Buy European Act", which will allow access to European public procurement markets to companies that account for at least half of their production in Europe.
We will propose to set up at European level an instrument of control of foreign investments in Europe to preserve our strategic interests and sectors, like the United States or China or what exists in France.
We will propose to create a "European commercial prosecutor", to verify compliance with the commitments made by our partners and to punish quickly their violation, in particular in social, environmental or fiscal matters.
A trade policy that defends European preferences and values.
- We will demand that all EU trade agreements incorporate a strand of tax cooperation and binding social and environmental clauses (lowering tariffs on "clean" goods and services as a matter of priority and introducing trade sanctions in violations of social and environmental clauses).
A more democratic trade policy. * We will propose the setting up of vigilance committees associating representatives of associations and NGOs during the negotiation and then for the implementation of the trade agreements and the evaluation of their impact.
4. The Europe of sustainable development.
We will aim to reform the European carbon market, acting by setting a floor price per tonne of carbon. This is the condition for an efficient and equitable energy transition for our companies.
We will make the common agricultural policy more protective and reactive, by setting up income stabilization mechanisms adapted to each sector (counter-cyclical subsidy, production regulation, etc.) and by promoting more environmentally friendly agriculture that does not harm the ecological system we live within.
5. The digital Europe.
We will promote the establishment of a European Venture Capital Financing Fund to support the growth of European digital start-ups. This fund must be endowed with at least 5 billion euros.
We will have to renegotiate with the US the * Privacy Shield *, the data protection framework, by 2018, to ensure the preservation of personal data of all Europeans.
We will propose the setting up of a European Agency for Digital Trust, which is responsible for regulating large digital platforms in order to guarantee the protection of personal data and the loyalty of their operation.
Objective 3: Strengthen European identity through de facto achievements.
Since the launch of the Erasmus program in 1987, the European Union has lacked broad-based initiatives that forge a shared identity for the new generations.
Tomorrow , the number of French students receiving an academic or professional exchange each year in the EU will be tripled, which will strengthen links and common understanding with other European countries.
We propose to gradually generalize the 'Erasmus' programme, with the objective of 200,000 French young people per year (25% of an age group) doing at least one semester abroad by 2022. We will also develop in this context the exchanges with the Mediterranean countries.
We will encourage the creation of a European status of the apprentice facilitating mobility.
France would like to hear fellow member states on these proposals and we are keen to hear further recommendations. If we all agree on these points, they can come into force within the next year.