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1 June 2017

The agenda for European work: an agenda for the protection of citizens

The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Minister for European Affairs have recently presented the agenda for future European work. This must above all ensure the economic, social and physical security of European citizens.
 
At the Council of Ministers meeting on 31 May, Ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian (Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs) and Marielle de Sarnez (Minister for European Affairs) indicated that the European Union (EU) must above all better protect the people of France and Europe.
 
The EU must therefore:
 
  • better protect workers in economic and social spheres, which in the short term requires a reform of the Posting of Workers Directive to prevent fraud and social dumping,
 
  • ensure fair international competition. The EU must therefore allow reciprocal access to public procurement and initiate discussions on the way in which strategic investments are controlled.
 
The EU is also facing an unprecedented influx of refugees and migrants. As a result, it must reconcile solidarity, both between Member States and towards refugees, with efficiency in protecting its borders from illegal migration.
 
France is also in favour of a series of measures aimed at improving the security of European citizens:
 
  • firstly, to fight terrorism by carrying out systematic checks at European borders, by more effectively gathering and sharing the information needed for this fight, and by making it more difficult for terrorists to communicate online,
 
  • also mentioned were European military operations, the relaunch of European Defence as well as the proposed European Defence Fund, which France supports.


Key agenda points

The first European Council meeting that the President of the Republic will attend, on 22 and 23 June, will promote this protection agenda.
 
In mid-July, a Franco-German Council of Ministers will be held in a limited format to give a strong and concrete impetus to our cooperation on security, defence and economic recovery, following the President of the Republic’s visit to Berlin on 15 May.
 
In the longer term, the ministers have stressed the importance of both the Gothenburg Social Summit – which will take place on 17 November 2017 and should lead to concrete progress in terms of social convergence, based on the "social package" presented by the European Commission in April – and the Africa-European Union Summit on 29 and 30 November 2017.
 
Finally, the ministers reiterated that after the British general election of 8 June, Chief Negotiator Michel Barnier will initiate negotiations on the terms by which the United Kingdom and the European Union will separate. The unity shown by the other 27 Member States and by the institutions is a vital asset in these difficult negotiations which must not divert our energies from our main aim of reforming Europe.