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24 April 2020

European Council

At the video conference of the members of the European Council, held on 23 April 2020, France was able to defend two issues: European independence and solidarity.
Since the last video conference, held on 26 March, progress has been made in several key areas:
  • the European Commission presented the joint principles for exiting the Covid-19 crisis, in health terms, which are fully in keeping with the guidance outlined on 13 April by the President of the Republic (such as the gradual lifting of containment measures, gradual opening of schools as a priority and, where applicable, a purely voluntary digital app);
  • the European Union (EU), along with several European countries, has rallied in support of Africa (European funding of €15bn) and of research on vaccine development, particularly with WHO.
The President of the Republic defended two important issues:
  • European independence: all Member States have agreed to enhance economic and industrial independence and reduce dependence in the strategic sectors, which include health, on non-European nations. The Commission is expected to come up with proposals along these lines shortly, in line with the agenda upheld by the President of the Republic since his speech on Europe at the Sorbonne;
  • European solidarity: the Finance Ministers have made significant progress (the Eurogroup agreed on a rescue package of more than €500bn on 9 April) and the European Council has called for this to be fully operational by 1 June. The idea of an additional recovery fund has received unanimous endorsement. There is still some disagreement over its size and arrangements. With the majority of the Member States, France has backed a massive budgetary effort, with joint European debt and financial transfers to help the European countries that have been hardest-hit by this crisis. The Commission is poised to make a proposal in this regard in early May. The President of the Republic has indicated that France could not agree to a European budget for the years ahead without a considerable increase in resources, via a stimulus fund placed within or outside the EU’s budget.

European measures for the agriculture and agri-food sectors

France thanks the European Commission for the emergency measures implemented to support the agriculture and agri-food sectors, and... [Read more]
24 April 2020