Prime Minister reaffirms France’s ambitions for Europe

Statement by the Prime Minister: France’s European project

Paris, 6 May 2015

Prime Minister Manuel Valls made a statement about France’s European project, to mark 9 May 2015, the anniversary of the Schuman Declaration, which launched the European adventure 65 years ago.

The anniversary is a reminder of the exceptional nature of the European project – unprecedented in the world – and an opportunity to emphasize the concrete achievements it has enabled, beginning with the lasting establishment of peace and stability in those countries which have made the sovereign choice to join the European Union.

Amid the challenges faced and doubts that may exist about a Europe that is sometimes perceived as distant, there is a need to reaffirm France’s strong ambition for Europe: to rebuild a Europe of growth and therefore of employment and investment, a Europe providing its citizens with protection and security, and a Europe that also promotes its cultural, social and environmental system.

The French government has been acting since 2012 to promote this ambition, under the impetus of the President. It will continue to do so, supporting a project for Europe with three central objectives:

1/ A Europe of growth

Citizens want a prosperous Europe that creates employment and sustainable growth. (…) The current goal is to implement the €315-billion Juncker plan as soon as possible. The EU will then have to go further and examine all means of increasing the Juncker plan. (…)

However, the coordination of economic policies within the Euro Area is still insufficient to fully stimulate growth and employment. As part of the work under way on the deepening of Economic and Monetary Union, an economic analysis of the Euro Area as a whole must be given its full place. (…) This challenge concerns budgetary policy but also structural policies and fiscal and social issues.

Today, five million young Europeans are unemployed. Everything must be done to remedy this unacceptable situation. European initiatives enabling all people under 25 to find training or employment must thus be capable of being fully implemented. (…)

And to restore hope, Europe must be in the vanguard when it comes to the energy transition. (…)

2/ A Europe that protects

European citizens also need a Europe that protects them. Faced with the proliferation of risks and threats and given the geostrategic context, which has profoundly changed in recent years, the European Union must unite to:

• combat terrorism more effectively, because the threat has not disappeared. (…)

• continue creating a Defence Europe. (…)

• establish an ambitious migration policy: at a time when the number of migrants in the Mediterranean is constantly rising, there must be a strong response from the EU. The European Council of 23 April took some initial steps: tripling resources for Frontex operations in the Mediterranean, stepping up the fight against the people traffickers, a duty to provide asylum for those in danger in their country and a policy of returning illegal migrants. We must go further and put together a genuine European migration policy.

3/ A Europe which upholds its interests and values

Europe isn’t simply a marketplace. It is also, and even primarily, a community of values. Despite their differences, Europeans share what is essential: freedom, pluralism, tolerance, equality between women and men, the role played by culture, social standards, human dignity – Europe is the only place in the world which has completely abolished the death penalty; current events remind us that this isn’t a given, but a battle to be fought.

These values are a driving force helping Europe promote its interests in every battle it fights. (…)

We must also fully pursue Europe’s trade interests and promote European values. (...)

Finally, the need to build Europe differently is essential: it’s a demand made by citizens who deem it too complicated and not transparent enough. The President emphasized this himself just after the 2014 European elections. So simplification must be a major imperative for Europe – as it is nationally – in the interest of businesses and citizens, in order for them to benefit fully from the EU’s programmes and policies.

Published on 19/05/2015

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