For France's head of state, the European Union is in a deep crisis. President Emmanuel Macron has presented an immediate action programme “for European renewal”. Can it work?
French President Emmanuel Macron made an appeal to all citizens of the European Union and Europe “for a new beginning”.
"Never since the Second World War has Europe been as essential," he said.
Europe has “never been in such great danger” of being destroyed by those who preach “nationalist retrenchment” and “let nationalists without solutions exploit the people’s anger”, the president wrote on Tuesday in the leading daily newspapers of all 28 member states of the European Union (EU).
Macron shared all the pieces on his personal Twitter page.
In it, the French president formulates a programme for immediate action along the "three ambitions" of freedom, protection and progress.
Citizens of Europe, I am addressing you because time is of the essence.⁰⁰https://t.co/XwXYs8XWVN— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) March 4, 2019
Brexit, Anti-EU, foreign funded parties
In the article, Macron notes that two months ahead the European elections, the impending UK withdrawal from the EU, is “a symbol of the EU crisis”.
Further, the president argues that for many EU citizens the union became a "soulless market”. Accordingly, the president thinks that this is why not only the adversaries of the EU, who deal with “lies and irresponsibility”, but also all those who believe they have nothing to change are wrong.
In order to maintain Europe as a "unique project for peace, prosperity and freedom", the French President proposes an action plan, divided into sub-items, aiming for a profound reform of the Union.
For this purpose, he calls for the creation of a European Agency for the Protection of Democracies to combat hacker attacks on elections and a ban on the financing of European political parties "by foreign power”.
Macron, however did not precisely speak about specific cases of Europe-wide foreign-funded European political parties, but there is one case inside France, that of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is widely believed to have been funded by the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Economic regulation, Schengen area
Macron’s vision of a new “European Renaissance” includes economic suggestions. "Europe is not a second-rank power but plays a pioneering role in many fields,” he writes. The president believes that the EU needs new competition and a new trade policies.
According to Macron, the EU should: "Punish or prohibit companies that undermine our [EU] strategic interests and core values." This includes the payment of taxes at an appropriate level.
Macron wants to improve the protection of the EU's external borders, joint defence efforts and the reform of the Schengen area. A common border police force and a European asylum authority are needed to promote a sense of belonging in security, he writes. In his three-and-a-half page letter, Macron calls for the establishment of a European Council for Internal Security.
Before the end of 2019, France's head of state said he plans: "To set up a European conference with representatives of the EU institutions and the states in order to propose all the changes necessary for our [European] political project, without taboos, including a revision of the treaties. This conference should involve citizens' panels, academics, social partners and representatives of religions.”
The plan is to set a roadmap for the European Union "by translating the main priorities into concrete actions".