Iron hand on borders and sleeve (a bit more) wide in the finance. The French President, Emmanuel Macron, detailed this Thursday afternoon his priorities during the French presidency of the European Union. The neighboring country will assume this rotating position as of January 1 of next year. Although this responsibility will overlap with the April presidential campaign, the leader has promised that it will be a “useful” period for the community club to move forward. Specifically, in two areas: Schengen area reform and the rule of 3% public deficit.
“If we must summarize in one sentence the objective of this presidency, I would say that we must move from a Europe of cooperation within our borders to one Powerful Europe in the world, fully sovereign, free of its decisions and teacher of its destiny, “said Macron in one of his usual grandiloquent phrases about European politics, although later his results in this matter were much more concise. In a press conference from the Elysee -a exercise that has not been released since April 2019-, defended himself from using the rotating presidency for electoral purposes. But he warned that he will continue to make decisions until “the last quarter of an hour” of his term.
“Protect our borders”
Consequently, it will promote a reform of the Schengen area during the first half of 2022. “Protecting our borders is an indispensable condition, both to guarantee the security of Europeans and to face the migratory challenge and avoid dramas like the ones we have experienced, “said the centrist leader, referring to the recent tragedy in the English Channel, where 27 migrants and refugees drowned in end of november.
This measure will include mechanisms to strengthen security and controls at the EU’s external borders. Above all, in those countries faced with a growing arrival of migrants, as happened recently on the border between Poland and Belarus. He also wants to advance the negotiations on the new Pact on Immigration and Asylum, presented last year, but whose approval is stalled.
Against the 3% deficit rule
In addition, Macron proposed rethinking the EU budget rules, especially the 3% public deficit. Fixed by the orthodox Maastricht Treaty of 1992, has been routinely breached by France and also by Germany early 2000s, as well as the southern countries (Spain, Greece or Italy) after the 2008 crisis. The fact of being “for or against 3%” has remained “obsolete“He defended. This neoliberal demand was suspended with the outbreak of the pandemic. Now, however, its restoration is one of the thorny issues of European politics.
The president announced the creation of “a European civic serviceI mean, a kind of paid volunteering for those under 25 years of age. He also claimed “a great work on the history” of the Old Continent. This initiative will aim to “forge a history and historiography of our Europe”, and thus compensate for biased and revisionist accounts From the past. He also wants to promote a European mechanism for limit the importation of products, such as soybeans or palm oil, which cause great deforestation in the countries of origin. And hold a summit between the European Union and the African Union in February.
The agenda of the French presidency of the EU looks tight. After his arrival at the Elysee in 2017, Macron stood out for his lyrical speeches about the continent and his willful spirit. But then it was seen overshadowed by Merkel. His great achievement in European politics were the reconstruction funds and they were only possible thanks to the ‘yes’ of Germany. With the departure of the CDU leader, trust counteract German hegemony. He will have his first chance this Friday with the first visit to paris of the new chancellor, the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.