EUROPEAN NEWS



Relaunching the European Union

2017-09-30

"FOR A EUROPE THAT IS SOVEREIGN, UNITED AND DEMOCRATIC". Under this title French President  addressed students in the Sorbonne University of Paris - a few days after the German elections - in which he outlined his plans for a stronger, more united and democratic Europe. The speech is attached in full and in French. It is worth reading in full. He rightly honored the "fathers of Europe" who transformed the secular battle for European hegemony into fraternal cooperative ventures and peaceful rivalries - in 1950 with the Schuman plan for the European Coal and Steel Community. He rightly challenges the dead-end roads of those populists who embrace nationalism, identitism, protectionism and return to national sovereignty.

He outlines a forward looking eight point program for a sovereign, united and democratic Europe, with concrete proposals for action: (1) A defence union, (2) joint external frontiers, (3) an outward looking strategy of development cooperation with Africa in particular by which Europe can better deal with migration, (4) a European policy to take the lead in dealing with the problems of climate change, (5)an innovative response to the digital revolution,                        (6) strengthening the monetary union with particular emphasis on reducing unemployment, the need for a European budget policy and a European minister of finance, (7) deliberate promotion of cultural solidarity, and (8) the strengthening of transparency, efficiency  and democracy in the European Union.

In a way it is encouraging to see that the ongoing tragedy of Brexit has revived the European spirit - with President Macron in Paris and European Commission President Juncker in Brussels. The two texts are a good basis for relaunching the European Unification process. German leadership is likely to be wanting; a French-German initiative along the lines proposed by President Macron might still be possible. Governments in Germany, Poland, Hungary and the Netherlands should learn from history and challenge the populist and nationalist forces in their countries; euroscepticism is stupid and shortsighted.

 

 


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Frans A.M. Alting von Geusau

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