Discours d'Emmanuel Macron à Berlin
Merci beaucoup Monsieur le Directeur, Monsieur l’Ambassadeur, Monsieur le Ministre, mesdames messieurs les parlementaires, mesdames, messieurs.
L’usage voudrait que je parle en Français, d’ailleurs un tel sujet, je peux vous le dire est très scruté en France, et ce serait déroger à la règle de manière indue de ne pas parler ce soir en Français devant vous. Néanmoins j’ai pris l’habitude de préférer être compris des auditoires. Alors l’autre option pourrait être de parler en allemand. Mais là je pense que cela ne répondrait pas davantage à l’objectif, compte tenu, vous allez le voir à quelques occasions, de l’accent médiocre que ma scolarité m’a laissé, j’ai donc pris le parti, et que les classiques m’excusent de cela Monsieur l’ambassadeur sous votre contrôle, mais j’ai pris le parti de parler ce soir en anglais par facilité et pour que nous puissions toutes et tous nous comprendre plus facilement.
Et je voudrais avant de commencer cette réflexion partagée parce que c’est plus cela que je suis venu faire avec vous, et l’engagement que je veux prendre devant vous ce soir. je voudrais avant tout rendre hommage à Roman Herzog parce qu’il est disparu aujourd’hui, Monsieur Herzog était aussi celui à qui nous devons la charte des droits fondamentaux, les grands principes qu’il a inscrits justement dans ce texte et je voudrais peut-être en paraphrasant imparfaitement ce qu’il avait il y a quelques décennies dit pour l’Allemagne commencer mon propos en disant “Durch Europa muss ein Ruck gehen”.
Because I just want to take two events to justify the discussion we have today and the fact that a strong commitment for Europe is absolutely critical today for France and for Germany in the opening of our presidential campaigns.
A little more than 15 days ago, Berlin was hit by a tragic attack and you have reverted to it and I expressed myself obviously on this tragedy. Berlin was attacked because Berlin was European as well. A few days later, Istanbul was attacked as well by the terrorists. We are now totally in a new history and the tragedy of far history is far from our current context and we cannot discuss about our current environment without taking into consideration the fact that it’s no more the end of our history, we are fully part of a new tragic history and a new tragic struggle and this struggle is a European struggle for me because it’s about the security of our people and it’s about our ability to preserve our values in such a struggle.
The second event I wanted to mention is that a little more than 15 years ago, in May 2000, in this very place, dear Joschka (FISCHER), you pronounced a major speech that did not receive the echo or the answer, I should say, that it deserved from France. I think it was a big mistake, definitely and probably we lost 15 years after this speech. I’m not saying that such an answer would be sufficient to deal with these two events but definitely we do need now such an answer to this speech and I have the secret hope, my opening of this discussion, which is not to wait for 15 years regarding what I would mention.
I want tonight to speak in your inspiring tradition and try to see where we are and how to address our challenges because during these 15 years our world completely and drastically changed, this world was transformed by four crises, I would say.
The crisis of security in the first place.
We rediscovered that the “End of History” was a myth. The Yugoslav wars warned us. September 11 opened up our eyes. And the recent Ukrainian, Syrian or Libyan conflicts showed us that violent conflicts are at our doorstep. More than everything, terrorism on our soil made us understand that security and defence were neither a luxury nor somebody else’s concern. That’s a very big change during this past decade.
The second is a migration crisis.
And the reality of such a crisis is very different between France and Germany to be fair because the reality of its impact is totally different and I want to repeat here what I mentioned a few days ago in the op-ed issued in your press. I do believe the German society indeed faces with a lot of lucidity and courage this refugee crisis. Why? Because it was just about our common values because when you speak about refugees, you speak about people leaving their countries to protect their families and themselves because for political reasons they can’t stay in their countries. In a lot of our debates, there is much confusion between refugees, migrants, terrorists, Muslim people to say the reality of this awful mixture, we have to be very tough and lucid on terrorism, we have to be very strict when communautarism increased and when some people want to fragilise and jeopardize our societies, but we do so to protect our values at the end of the day, to protect our people and protect our values; but if we forgot our values at the same time, what is the purpose of such an initiative, of this fight. I do believe that the German reaction was a very strong and a very telling decision to remind us how important our values are today.
The third crisis is the economic one.
The burst of the Internet bubble had warned us at the turn of the century. The 2008 crisis, triggered in the United States, spread all over the world, left a mark that is still visible on our economies and weakened millions of Europeans, in particular the younger generation in Southern Europe. And I have to say we are exiting this crisis, perhaps but the way we addressed this economic crisis in Europe was definitely not the best answer because of the lack of trust between member states, because of the fact that we decided not to have, in an aggregated approach, the smart answer after a decade of moral hazard in some countries. the answer was about reforms and overconsolidation without any coordination in a lot countries in what we called, and I hate these words, the periphery of Europe. It’s not periphery of Europe when you speak about Italy, Greece, Portugal and so on. But the result of this period of time is that 8 years after this crisis a generation just experienced Europe with 50% of unemployment rate in their countries without any ability on our side, German and French side, to negotiate, decide precisely a new trigger, a new phase for an actual European growth and there is no fate for that when you compare Europe with the US.
The fourth crisis is indeed a European crisis largely due to the fact that nobody was in a situation to address these questions.
After the rejection of the European Constitution by France and the Netherlands, we have thought that it would be better to leave the field. We have set aside the ambitious reflections of the previous decade, from the ideas of Karl Lamers and Wolfgang Schäuble to the project of Joschka Fischer and the thoughts of Alain JUPPÉ. A lot of people proposed during the 90’s a lot of new ideas but after 2005 we stopped and I have to say, both France and Germany have the perfect recipe for such a blockage. Let’s start speaking about financial transfer to a German and we’ll stop the discussion. Let’s start speaking about tricky change to a French, he’ll stop the discussion. During the past decade, we failed altogether to progress, to have a new phase in the European construction because of this crazy choreography and I want to put an end to that.
The financial crisis, that has become a Euro crisis, precipitated us in emergency management. The migrant crisis and the Brexit added another lot of last-chance summits to the monthly schedule of European leaders. We are experts in the current environment of last chance summits which is the best way to fix a situation probably but not to build a new phase and to address long-term issues.
As Jacques DELORS said, for Europe we need a vision and a screwdriver. Unfortunately, we currently have a lot of screwdrivers but we are still lacking a vision. I do not want to draw too bleak a picture of this last decade: even if according to me for Europe, it was a lost decade. It was also the decade of the European enlargement that has reconciled the two sides of our continent, it was the decade of our digital revolution, which is not yet finished, and the decade of climate change awareness with a lot of very first important decisions.
For the European project nevertheless, it was definitely a lost decade because distrust has spread. The European Council has become a scene where each head of state stages his so-called victory over the other members. We perfectly knew this choreography as well. Now, discussing between head of state and governments is a discussion on a communiqué. And when the leaders agree on a communiqué, they go in front of their public opinions, on the press, to express it was their communiqué and they won against the others. It is not the best way to build the European idea and to build European answers.
To the extent that, today, the end of Europe – the “exit”, the return of nationalism, is the new magical thinking. Wouldn’t France be better off without German obsessions or Brussels’ “diktats”? We could spend much more! And that’s a motto for a lot of candidates in this presidential election... Wouldn’t Germany be better off without Gallic frenzy or Greek muddle? You could spend less! It should be much better.
I could also have a much more demagogic message nowadays and tell you in turn that Europe is out of date. It would be easier, I have to say especially in a French presidential campaign, to say that Germany and France have moved apart so much that it is time to work on new alliances ; that I will “renverser la table pour parler durement aux allemands” which is the best way to be popular in my country. But that’s a deadlock. From both sides, for decades, leaders decided precisely to create a new relationship with Germany, to completely change the relationship and to be tough with this bad partner. That is pure bullshit.
How can we not see that our challenges are the same? How can we not see that terrorism is not only a French or a German problem? That the Paris agreement on climate change is not an issue for Berlin too? That in a globalised world, necessary protections will not come from merely national policies but from European firmness carried by our two countries? We do have common interests. And the four crises I mention, which completely changed our current environment during this past decade are four common crises.
I have been promoting in the past months a “revolution” of our system, a change of the political and economic software inherited from post-war growth. And yet, I do speak of Europe, I do defend the European project, I do pay tribute to these enlightened men who had the crazy idea to reconcile our continent, unite its people, for the first time in history without submission or violence. What is unicity of the European Union? That’s the very first time in our common history that we created a unique political body without any hegemony. A balanced and peaceful organization, and that is why it created peace, freedom and growth for more than six decades. Being European a few years ago was a boring commonplace. Today, it almost sounds like a provocation.
The project I want to submit to you this evening, our project, my project for both France and Europe, is based on two critical ideas: more sovereignty, but more European sovereignty, and unifying people, which means more actual democracy.
This reconstruction, it is the ambition that I carry and that I want to present here. This reconstruction is based on the fact that we do need a Europe of sovereignty. The big mistake we made during the past decade is to abandon this word: sovereignty. Sovereignty is just how to protect your people, how to protect your interests and how to promote your interests in the rest of the world. Our main mistake was to leave this word to those who promote a nationalistic approach. But the actual sovereignty given our current challenges is also and probably most of the time a European sovereignty to be built.
The European construction started in the early 1950s sheltered from the American block. In Berlin, we know more than anywhere else that this period was also a time of fractures and tensions. Here in Berlin, we also know how much the European construction has contributed to our continent and the international community. But the European project was not conceived for Europe to assert itself in global politics. It was aimed at stitching back together a ripped continent; at bringing back together the enemies of yesterday; at giving back peace and economic prosperity to a territory in ruin.
Europe has moved forward this way, being mostly inward-looking. From treaty to treaty, developing themselves by lawful relations rather than power relations, the European communities have become a European Union which deserved its name. But Europe was somehow obsessed with internal competition, with its single market and the convergence between its members. We failed to do so.
The four crises that I mentioned have weakened this progression and revealed the necessity for Europe to carry a proper vision of the world: that is the big challenge of today. The US is completely changing its strategy, and it is not due to Mr Trump’s election. For the past five to seven years, the US changed its strategy in the Middle East, and they stopped with their classical post-war strategy to protect Europe and to build with Europe a common protection in this region of the globe. Today, we are put in a situation when Europe has to defend its own interests regarding security, in the Middle East and regarding its interests in climate change. When you look at the situation, we have to rebuild the way we think about a European strategy. It’s a normal and inward-looking strategy. We do have a role today, a global role, in order to protect our people, in order to protect our climate and in order to protect our common economic interests.
We often spoke about “L’Europe de la puissance” not always knowing what we wanted to do with that. **I defend today a “Europe of sovereignty”. **Because sovereignty means the capacity of acting in concrete terms to protect ourselves and defend our values. Because I cannot accept leaving the idea of “sovereignty” to far-right or far-left populists and their lies. For me, this sovereignty is based on five pillars.
The first one is the security challenge,
both internal and external, because it is the first tool of sovereignty and yet the one we still lack the most at the European level. “Sicherheit nach außen zugewährleisten, sich selbst verteidigen zu können, ist aber Voraussetzung und innerster Kern jeglicher Souveränität von Staaten. Dies gilt demnach für die EU als Gemeinschaft von Staaten in dem Sinne, dass sie überhaupt nur noch so, durch die Gemeinschaft Souveränität erhalten können.“
These perfectly accurate words I have to confess are not mine. Thank you. But those are of Karl LAMERS and Wolfgang SCHÄUBLE in their famous publication on the European policy in 1994. Probably another call to action without a lot of echo and answer. Security is in this in the first place. Understanding that our true borders are the EU borders. When we speak about migration, when we speak about terrorism, it’s not about national domestic borders, it doesn’t make sense. It means preserving the Schengen Agreement. That is a fundamental achievement in the first place for the millions of everyday cross borders commuters. And for this we must in the meantime strengthen the monitoring and the common administration of our external borders. You understand, I do believe that the right answer to these challenge is a European answer, but I don’t believe that our current organization today is sufficient vis-à-vis this new environment. The recent creation of the European border and coast guard agency with increased resources and extended missions is a major progress.
But we must go further, set an objective of at least five thousand people that can be mobilized, increase the resources of this agency and enable it to intervene lastingly in a member state in order to protect our borders. We do need an external police force at our common borders because the best way to protect my population is not to block everybody at my frontier with Belgium, Netherlands, or Germany. It doesn’t make sense, it’s crazy. But everybody who will arrive in Lampedusa, Lesbos or Athene frontiers and borders of our current organization is critical to me as well. And if I want to be credible vis-à-vis my people, I do need such an approach, I do need a pragmatic and much more efficient European answer. Those who pretend to kill Schengen, they just want to restore a national and domestic answer. It’s not efficient. But when you say “I want to preserve Schengen”, which for me is the most sensible answer, it means I want to transform Schengen into something much more efficient in order to deal with my security and my people’s security.
Second, I want to develop a common asylum policy. Why? because we do need to coordinate ourselves, and Dublin is no more sufficient. I don’t want to completely destroy Dublin agreement, but today what’s the result of the current situation? You have millions of people taking a risk for their families and their lives, without any perspective of the final answer. And we leave the burden to the Greeks, the Italians and so on. That’s our common responsibility, both German and French. We have to build together a common asylum policy in order to discuss and build agreements with third countries, with all those countries. What we have to do is not to negotiate on a very fragile basis a wishy-washy agreement with Turkey to be fair. We had to negotiate with Turkey how to deal with their refugees months and months ago. In order to see how to accept some refugees and provide an actual asylum to them. It would have been the appropriate answer, so we have to reorganize at the European scale a common answer because it’s more efficient and it’s more respectful vis-à-vis our common values. Because you avoid thousands, millions of people taking useless risks with a family in the Balkan route or in the Mediterranean sea.
We must, at the European level, develop cooperation agreements with major immigration and transit countries based on development and financial assistance, support for border controlling agreement on the return of migrants unauthorized to enter or to remain in the EU. That’s the third point of such a strategy. What does that mean? That is a realistic approach, our duty is indeed to protect refugees when they risk their lives. Our duty is to organize ourselves with a common organization to deal with that. But it’s now impossible to explain to our people and our public opinion that you don’t grant the asylum or you don’t grant the papers to these migrants. Today you are not in a situation precisely to organize the return of these migrants to their countries. Because there is a sort of lose-lose game between France, Germany and these countries. What I want to do is to organize at the European level such an organization in order to provide much more efficiency. An annual conference should bring at the same table the EU and these countries in order to follow up on these agreements and make further European support conditional upon the actual implementation. This is the only way to set up a genuine European migration policy both fair and effective. And I endorse such a perspective because this is the only way vis-à-vis our public opinion to be both generous, to be both in line with our values and efficient. We must also create a common intelligence system overcoming national reluctance that enables an effective tracking of criminals and terrorists, and in the longer run a common police force against organized crime and terrorism.
We must face together, without being naive, the actual threats of the virtual world, cyber terrorism as well as any type of cyber-attack. We do have the industry to do so, we have the best players in the world with the skills to deal with this kind of behavior. We have to work together in order to deal with this new phenomenon. Security also relies on a defense policy up to the threats we are facing. I want to escape the stereotype of a France in charge of international affairs but stuck in its internal problems and of a Germany economically powerful but naive in front of the global threats. It’s no more the situation. And I have to say on both sides, Russia is no more just a German problem or a German exclusivity and a French passion I have to say. And if you follow French policy it’s actually a brand new passion as some of my competitors may lead you to believe. And on the other side intervention in Africa are not the sole responsibility of France. I noticed incidentally that there are more German than French soldiers involved in Mali. When you speak about your Mediterranean policy it’s not a French business, it’s a European business. It’s your business in Germany as well because you are impacted by this reality. So what I want to say to you this night is that now we do have on these affairs a common interest. Germany has become fully aware of the necessity of a strong defense and a European defense. And the white book presented this year by Ursula VON DER LEYEN is a proof of this. And we have now a unique opportunity to move forward together. The European Union spends half as much as the United States on defense, even less if we take the Brexit into account. European cooperation on military equipment programs is weaker than ten years ago, we must quickly create a European defense fund financing research programs as well as common defense capacities. And in this respect, we need to encourage joint defense spending through funding via the EU budget and a common debt capacity based on European defense bonds.
Why? Because this is a unique opportunity on both sides. Germany is changing its strategy on defence and diplomacy, and I think it’s a very important and smart decision. And we now have to act together. I don’t believe about French people saying “La Grande France, seule, va parler à la Grande Russie”. Good luck with that. Good luck. Because you will discover that Russia, indeed, is in Europe, geographically and historically speaking, that we have a lot of common passions, that’s true: literature, culture, and Russian people live themselves as Europeans. I’m sorry to say that, but you have Russian leaders who don’t share our values and our views. So, you have to speak with Russia, in order to fix the Syrian situation, in order to deal on different issues, you have to speak with them, and never stop discussing with them. But if you want to be credible, you have to speak as Europeans, you have to speak, both and all together, France and Germany. And the day we will have to fix the Libyan situation, the day we will have to discuss both with Algeria and Egypt about the Libyan issue, we will have to work together to be credible and to be efficient.
Yet, with more resources but without the will to act together we remain powerless. That’s why we must develop a true capability for political actions: a permanent European headquarter in charge of operations, planning and monitoring, working hand in hand with national command centres, and NATO is essential. Perhaps some leaders will make some mistakes with NATO. We shall not trigger such a crisis. I propose the establishment of a European security council, gathering the military, diplomats, intelligence experts, to advise European decision-makers, especially in case of threats or attacks.
The time of choices has come. If the ambition of taking action together is not shared in the whole union, we must find ways to move forward faster in a smaller group. We shouldn’t be blocked by the decision of some people, which means we have to be ready to work together, France and Germany, with the other members which could decide to join the club, and the treaties offer the possibility of doing so, a possibility that we should examine in the coming months, because without this will of moving forward, the best tools in the world will be useless. I’m referring for example to the battle groups implemented nearly 10 years ago, and that we must finally be able to activate. We do not need a treaty change to do so. We need a political willingness to move forward and a political awareness of this new environment and new challenges. f This defense endowed with the resources and ambition, it means Europe opening its eyes and taking its responsibilities. It is the best way to resist the fantasy of national retrenchment as well as the uncertainties from our American partner. It is a capability of common action, in our own way, but it is not calling into question NATO: a strong Europe can only strengthen this Alliance.
The second pillar of the sovereignty approach is our currency.
Europe needs a stronger economic and monetary union. We must here again avoid the half pregnancy attitude, and give up unfounded accusations. It is today in fashion to blame the Euro, often on the exact opposite ground in France and Germany, I have to say. It is a good indication of the unfairness of this trial probably. On one side, some pretends that euro is the origins of an austerity policy, which doesn’t exist in France, I have to reassure you. And on the other side, Euro would be responsible for a sort of moral hazard and inability of some of the state to reform themselves. Please go to Portugal and see the reforms. So, the truth is that we must collectively recognize that the Euro is incomplete and cannot last without major reforms. When I was minister, with Sigmar GABRIEL, we asked Jean PISANI-FERRY and Hendrik ENDERLEIN to work on such a report for convergence between France and Germany and try to deal with this incomplete euro zone because I do believe that part of the answer is in our hands, but part of the answer is in our common initiative. It has not provided Europe with a full international sovereignty against the dollar on its rules, it has not provided Europe with a natural convergence between the different member states. What is our situation today with Euro? We failed in convergence policy. When you look at the situation, the dysfunctioning of Euro is good news for Germany, I have to say. You benefit from this dysfunctioning. Part of your success is due to your reforms, and part of our lack of success is due to the fact that in the same time, we did not reform. So, I’m not refusing to take into consideration this difference, but at the same time, the dysfunctioning of the euro zone creates unbalanced reactions and favors a sort of productive center against the rest of the zone. Why? Because Euro today is a sort of weak deutschmark, which favors the German industry and our competitiveness approach between member states is not an answer or is a deadlock, because of the fact that they cannot adjust through a monetary policy, and as we decided not to have any solidarity and financial transfers within the eurozone, it’s impossible to deal with our divergence. So, I have to say we failed with the natural convergence approach and when you took the euro at a global scale, we failed in terms of sovereignty, in order to preserve our sovereignty against the dollar. Look at our banks, look at our common policy in Russia, in Iran. We are not able, as Europeans, to accompany our corporates in this market, because of the diktat of the Americans.
Because of the fact that they have an actual super sovereignty in monetary terms. So if we want an actual monetary policy, we need to strengthen the euro as an international currency. How can we deal with that? We are blocked by the lack of trust between France and Germany, we are blocked by the moral hazard obsession, and the fact that today, we just have a sort of responsibility approach, we ask for structural reforms and fiscal consolidation, without any solidarity. And we didn’t manage post crisis to deal with that. My view is as follow: first, here is a French responsibility to fix the situation. We have to restore trust with Germany by implementing reforms. That’s why in my program, I do endorse a series of reforms on labour market, on education. What we called in Brussels “structural reforms”. I don’t like this word because it’s not really telling for people. But strong reforms in order to realign our economy on the German, success and deliver, precisely, in terms of reform and credibility.
Second, our responsibility is to respect our own commitments on the fiscal matter. We are the ones with the German and the others, to decide of our European fiscal policy. So we have to respect this policy. We have to respect our common commitments and we have to be smart with our treaties on both sides. But, that’s a precondition. Having said that, I do want in the same time to create a dynamic, this New Deal, to convince Germany to spend much more here, to have a much more growth-friendly policy. You need more investment, and you need a much more growth-friendly approach.
And we need together to trigger much more investment at the European level. That’s why, and it was the basis of the common op-ed we issued with Sigmar Gabriel, almost one and a half year ago, for me the battle is to put in place a budget for the Eurozone. And this budget will have to be backed by a borrowing capacity and by its own resources, with three objectives:
- financing key investments for the future,
- providing emergency financial assistance from the European stability mechanism, and
- helping Eurozone members in case of large economic shock.
It will have to be placed under the scrutiny of the members of the European Parliament from concerned countries. The establishment of this budget will have to come with a convergence agenda for the Eurozone, an anti-dumping agenda that will set common rules for fiscal and social matters. Because no country can benefit from collective solidarity and play against its partners. A common currency is a major political project linking our destinies. The European Central bank has done a lot to make this project work. Its independence and its actions must be respected. But we cannot rely on its actions alone. In a monetary union, a country’s success cannot be sustainably achieved to the detriment of another, which is a limit of a competitiveness approach, because competitiveness is always about comparing yourself with a neighbour. The difficulties of one are always the problems of all. The economic and monetary union involves a strict responsibility and a deep solidarity. Clear rules, loyal cooperation, strong mutual assistance: this is a new deal I’m promoting, the only deal which can rebuild trust and generate growth. That’s why I do believe in this balance between responsibility and solidarity. That’s our economic and political duty. Why? Because if we don’t do so, in ten years or fifteen years times, if somebody comes in this university to make such a speech, our risk is not to have Euro anymore, because the status quo is the synonymous, in ten years time, of a dismantling of the Euro, for economic and financial reason. But because this generation, in half of Europe, which just experienced fifty percent of young unemployment rate is no more a European generation my friends. So that’s a political duty to re-launch from an economic point of view an actual economic and pro-growth ambition.
The third pillar of this sovereignty policy is a trade policy.
I know it’s an awful word today, both in France and Germany, but trade is about our interests. So the actual way to re- launch a trade policy is to say we have to work together. When we failed is when we tried to push our own domestic agenda. When Germany refused to deal at a European scale, vis-à-vis the Chinese, on photovoltaic issues and solar panels, we failed. It was not a smart decision. When French people tried to preserve their interests and not to deal at the European level on trade policy, we failed. Why? Because our actual trade sovereignty is at the European level. The only way to deal with a dumping decision in China, or in India, or in Russia, is at the European level. We do need a much bolder trade policy at the European level. I pushed very much for that as a minister, and I do welcome the recent decision to modernize our trade instruments. But we have to do much more than that. We have to be aggressive on the trade agenda, to promote our own collective preferences. We don’t want to be submitted to the American or the Chinese decisions. But if we don’t organize ourselves, we will be de facto submitted to their decisions. What we want to do is to promote our collective preferences, our values, our taste for culture, our preference for climate change decisions, our collective preferences for food, and so on. We do need a European agenda to do so and we have to build it together. And it will be a very important agenda from 2017 on.
The fourth pillar is about sustainable development.
Dany, about environment and energy. You are delivering a very bold policy in Germany with very aggressive renewable program. In France, we are decreasing our exposure to nuclear energy and I want to pursue such a strategy because I think that’s the good one, not to have a hard exit, but to have a smart exit and at the same time to promote an investment in renewables. But if we want to succeed, we do need a European strategy on sustainable development. We have the collective responsibility to lead our continent’s ecological transition by creating an effective carbon market, with predictable and sufficiently high prices, and by strengthening our energy market interconnections and a common strategy in energy storage. We do need common rules and common infrastructures. That’s the unique way to deliver and to be consistent with our global commitments. Europe has above all a commitment and a duty: ensuring the fair and complete implementation of the historic agreement reached in Paris last year.
And the fifth pillar to have a sovereign Europe is about digital.
We are in the middle of the digital revolution. And, as I said to the French people, I don’t want to be the French president of a French Google. It’s counterintuitive I have to say, especially for French people. But why? Because it will never exist. It’s impossible. We can, we have a chance perhaps to create a European Google. That’s why, if we want a natural sovereignty in terms of digital revolution, we do need a European approach. First creating a single market, which means allowing our people and our startups, when they create a startup in Germany, accessing to a 27-countries market and not to just a German market, and not dealing day after day with the others’ regulations. But at the same time, promoting our common preferences and our common regulations. When I speak about a single market, it is not just to say we will lift barriers. No! I want us to create a natural economic regulation in order to create value for our corporates with their data. I want to create a natural European regulation to be in the situation to explain to my people how I will protect that data, because today I have to be honest, we are not in a situation to guarantee you about US interference on your data. It’s not true. We have this treaty, extremely fragile vis-à-vis our own legislation, with the US. But we don’t have any actual guarantee about what the GAFA are doing with your personal data. If you want to protect your right to be forgotten, if you want to protect your privacy, you need a European regulation to do so. And that’s the core of our sovereignty today and tomorrow. So we do need a European regulation and a European single market in order to have an actual European sovereignty on digital. That’s why I wish that our two countries would suggest together the creation of not just a single market digital union, but as well create a European agency for digital trust in charge of controlling at a European level that big digital companies respect that transparency duty and that the access to their services is without discrimination.
These five pillars of sovereignty are critical and the core of my project for France and Europe. But it’s not sufficient. We have to resume sovereignty in Europe and at the same time, we have to unite people.
These five key domains delineate a Europe that protects us and promotes our values. Moving together is a necessity as we are more efficient collectively, but moving together because we share an identity is the true reason for our project. And no one said it better than Jean MONNET: “We are not forming coalitions of states, we are uniting men”. What does that mean? That we have to change our way to proceed with Europe and we need a much more democratic approach. Today, the deadlock for pro-Europeans is to say “I defend the European ideal, so I am afraid of my people, and I want to preserve the classical choreography. So we will meet together between leaders, and everything will be perfectly fine”. This method is dead. Look at Bratislava, look at the recent summits: as I told you, it is not the best way to create a new momentum and prepare your future. In the same time we decided all together, governments, to weaken the ability of the commission to do so. In the 1980s, the commission was in charge of common interest, and designing, precisely, our future for decades. Lastly it is no more the case, because of us. On the other side, a lot of people are promoting referendum, not to build, but to destroy, saying “ok, let’s ask our people, whatever the question will be the answer will be ‘No !’” Because we know the current functioning.
What I want to promote is a new method to ask people to be part of the solution, encompass people and renovate our democratic practices, not to leave the monopoly of the people to the populists. This is the reason why I suggested the organization of democratic conventions after the French and German elections. I suggest and I will suggest as president of the French Republic to launch democratic conventions in the whole Union during six to ten months in each country. It will be a debate on the content of the Union’s action, on the policies it carries, on the priorities it should have. This debate will rebuild trust beyond partisan games and beyond national interests. It will enable to propose a common answer to binary referendums and old games that only add up contradictory refusals and concentrate rejections without a project. What I want to build with these conventions is not a two-hundred-pages treaty, that is a big mistake because nobody reads it, that is a Pandora box for all the demagogues and liars. No, what we have to build is a roadmap for Europe, not as vast as a treaty but ten to fifteen pages where we define a clear list of actions that countries willing to move forward can put in place as quickly as possible, in terms of defense, security, fiscal convergence for example. It will be possible for all countries to participate to this movement but not to obstruct everything. And for me, after this process, we will indeed have an intergovernmental conference, we will decide and we will go to the people to ratify, to the parliament and some will choose referendum. But with one clear rule, and I refer to what Mario MONTI and Sylvie GOULARD proposed, which is the fact that if one country refuses, it is not able to block the others. It takes its responsibility for itself. That is extremely important. This doesn’t mean giving up all institutional reforms, and I think back again at Joska FISCHER’s striking remark, sixteen years ago: “How can we conceive a European council with thirty heads of states and governments?”. It is true! I think it does not function very well. This is where we are. Institutional reforms will be necessary, treaty changes will come, and we have to face that. There should be no taboo. Some reforms can go faster to give room to a prosper European democratic debate. In this regard, I fully support Daniel COHN-BENDIT’s idea of using the quota of 73 British members of the European parliament to create a truly European list for the next parliament election in 2019. That is a pragmatic approach to start changing; an actual European democratic approach.
That is a pragmatic approach because we have to use the maximum of the options offered by the treaties. And we have to prepare a necessary treaty change, and we have to start now. That is why we do need in the same time a European ethic, a revamped democratic method, renewed policies, then renovated institutions. But we need to unite people. A European ethic, a desire to live together, an awareness of our shared identity, a loyalty to our values. It relies on each and everyone of us. This is the reason why I paid tribute to your chancellor and the remarkable action in the refugee crisis. And this is the reason why I am here today in front of you, because this European ethic cannot exist without France and Germany. The European project is based on the Franco-German reconciliation. There is a cultural dimension in the broadest sense that we should never forget, countries and people who killed each other now work together. It is not because we do not think in the same way, because our immediate interests sometimes differ, but because we share a history made of bloody conflicts that we need each other and that Europe needs us together.
Our historical role and duty, and we do not have any choice, is to work together, to trigger a new era for our Europe, because that is our history and our responsibility. And I want just to take here the invitation made by Willy BRANDT in order to extend this invite to France, Germany and Europe: “es wächst zusammen was zusammen gehört”. That is our situation. And that is especially the reason why I am here, in front of students, I want to conclude by talking about youth. Our European ethic so deeply-rooted among the generation of the founding fathers traumatized by the war got lost at a time of day-to-day business. I have to say to you, for your generation, there is no more day-to-day business. It is finished. It can only be regenerated thanks to you. Your generation, with your concrete experience of Europe. Today, they are two categories of Europeans: the first one who can travel, this Erasmus generation, this happy Europe, and the other half of a generation unemployed, a few kilometers from here. Our common commitments were not to propose for a young Spaniard’s future to come to work in Berlin or in Munich. It is to have the opportunity to do so, but it should not be the unique way. That is not a responsible answer. Our commitment, the initial commitment, was: his life would be better thanks to Europe. And it is no more the case. And I want to reconcile these two youths. That is why I do believe in Europe and I do believe that your generation will be in charge of these reforms because it will take decades.
We will have to trigger and start the jobs now but it will take time. But please, never leave the floor to those who doubt, to those who hate Europe. During this past decade, a lot of leaders betrayed Europe. Why? Because they stopped speaking about Europe. Because they stopped proposing anything about Europe. Why? Because they thought that their populations preferred just to stop and doubt. And they left the floor to those who want to kill Europe, without any memory of our history, without any responsibility about our common history and our common future. Your role is to criticize Europe, to be more demanding vis- à-vis Europe. I do agree with that. And I defend it and defend everyday the Franco- German cooperation because this is the unique path for us.
And this is because Europe should not be a luxury or a gadget that I defend an ERASMUS programme generalized to all young people. In France, I set the ambition of enabling, by 2022, two hundred thousand young people per year to study or do an apprenticeship at least six months in another country of the Union. It is to forge this identity and this ethic, grounded in the knowledge of the other rather than the fear of the neighbour, that I want to re-establish bilingual and European classes in France, because that’s important; and revive school twinning in Europe; and strengthen the action of the Franco-German Youth Office.
Maximum diversity in minimum space: this is what Europe is about. Look at the map: there is no other place with such diversity, with so many languages, with so many wars, decades after decades, with so many differences in such a small place. But we did it! We built a unique common democratic political construction of peace, freedom and prosperity.
Today, it’s at stake and I have to say, to conclude: the European construction was initiated by men of experience, instructed by the tragedy of the European civil war and it now relies on young people like you, a generation that knows what a crisis is, that discovered the turmoil of the world and the violence of history. A generation that must ensure together that Europe tips over the right side at this moment in History when the continent trembles. This is our responsibility, both Germany’s and France’s.
There was a very unique philosopher in France, Emmanuel LEVINAS, and he had a very beautiful sentence – he was a Jewish philosopher. Speaking about trust, he wrote « La confiance, c’est le problème de l’autre ». I have to say one of our main issues is the lack of trust. I will take my responsibility. France will take its responsibility. I do want much more Europe – and the Europe I describe. And I do want to do that with Germany. And I do trust in Germany.