European flag
21 September 2018

Europe is not an à la carte menu: it is a political project

The President of the Republic reiterated the scope of the European project at the informal European summit of 20 September in Salzburg (Austria). The summit formed part of a full agenda as Europe reconvened in September, with real progress made one year on from Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the Sorbonne, and France’s clear determination to adopt an effective approach with regard to security, migration and Brexit.
 

During the summit, discussions first of all focused on internal security matters and the fight against terrorism, on which major progress has been made over the last few months. The proposals made in the Sorbonne speech, and which have since been put forward by the European Commission, are being put into practice:

  • Legislation is shortly due to be adopted on the obligation to systematically remove any content of a terrorist nature made available online. Such content must be removed within one hour of being posted online.
  • The establishment of a European Public Prosecutor’s Office with powers to combat terrorist offences and networks is well underway.
  • The establishment of a European Civil Protection Force (for firefighting and dealing with the consequences of natural disasters) should be achieved in the coming months.

These developments show that Europe is "a fight every day in which we must never resign ourselves, never weaken, never give up", declared Emmanuel Macron, who stated that "it is because Europe is under threat that it is necessary to dare, to remain unrelentingly committed in order to rebuild".

The need to make faster progress on immigration

On immigration policy, the President of the Republic has called for more rapid progress on this subject in order to deliver results.

The aim is to move ahead much more quickly with the comprehensive three-pronged approach proposed:

  1. Preventing departures by continuing the initiatives taken with regard to Africa (the development partnership and the fight against human trafficking)
     
  2. Protecting our borders by supporting the Commission’s proposal to increase the number of Frontex staff to 10,000 by 2020.
     
  3. Organising solidarity among European countries by speeding up the implementation of a lasting and organised mechanism to articulate the principles of responsibilities (countries of first entry for the disembarkation and registration of migrants, according to the principle of the nearest safe port) and solidarity in caring for persons entitled to asylum. We also need to be more effective and faster in terms of the repatriation policy for those who have no right to asylum protection, based on a clear legal framework that is shared between Member States.

Brexit: new proposals are expected in October

The Summit was also an opportunity to address the issue of Brexit, with the 27 countries taking a "clear and simple" line:

  • Be united with a common approach by all 27 (Michel Barnier as the EU’s single negotiator).
  • Be consistent: the solution must not jeopardise the integrity of the single market. The "Chequers plan" was, according to Emmanuel Macron, a "courageous step", but "these proposals cannot be accepted in the economic domain as they stand" as they undermine one of the EU’s "vital interests".
  • Secure a structured withdrawal agreement which deals in particular with the issue of the Irish border.

The President of the Republic would like new proposals to be put forward by Theresa May in October, and that they can be discussed in order for an agreement to be reached. The negotiations are not over, but France will not compromise the EU’s fundamental interests.