Francúzsky prezident Emanuel Macron predniesol počas svojej návštevy v Holandsku (11. -12. 4.) prejav v inštitúte Nexus v Haagu. Témou prejavu bola jeho vízia budúcnosti a suverenity Európy a prejav vzbudil rozporuplné reakcie.
Macron načrtol svoje predstavy o budúcnosti EÚ a rozpracoval svoj vlajkový „plán pre Európu “, ktorý bol prvýkrát predstavený v roku 2017 na Univerzite Sorbonna v Paríži. Plán obsahuje šesť „kľúčov“ k európskej suverenite vrátane spoločného obranného rozpočtu, zefektívnenia imigračných a azylových postupov a rozvoja nového partnerstva s Afrikou. Európa by mala zosúladiť sociálne a fiškálne politiky a posilniť demokraciu podporou národnej a miestnej diskusie. Emmanuel Macron vyzval na spoločnú európsku priemyselnú politiku a dôslednú integráciu. Protekcionizmus v prípade kľúčových zdrojov je podľa neho obhájiteľný.
Macron zopakoval svoju výzvu na väčšiu „európsku suverenitu“ s tým, že kontinent si môže vybrať svojich vlastných partnerov a „formovať svoj vlastný osud“. Smerovanie k európskej suverenite podľa neho urýchlila pandémia covidu aj vojna na Ukrajine. Macron si myslí, že EÚ sa musí zmeniť a už si nemôže dovoliť pokračovať vo svojej starej politike závislosti vo vzťahu k USA a ignorovať rastúcu spoluprácu medzi Ruskom a Čínou.
Prejav publikujeme v plnom znení.
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Speech by M. Emmanuel Macron at the Nexus Institute
The Hague, 11/04/2023
I wanted to take indeed the opportunity of the speech and what you offered to me to discuss about our Europe and much more to discuss about our European sovereignty. And I think this concept is extremely important, especially in this time because a little bit over one year ago Russia unleashed a barbaric war against Ukraine and opened probably one of the most perilous times of our European Union. Our Union is said to grow stronger through crises, but never have we faced such a threat: a war involving nuclear power at our borders and an unthinkable event that jeopardize lasting peace and brought violence conflict back to the European continent. Since our European summit in Versailles a few weeks after the beginning of the war, during the French presidency, it was in March last year, Europe stepped forward and responded swiftly and efficiently, and has continued to do since.
And both pandemic and war were big accelerators of this European sovereignty. And this is what I wanted to advocate, and I wanted perhaps to elaborate a little bit on this concept and what it means today and what it should mean in the very context we know.
European sovereignty could seem as a strange word. For years, this concept may have sounded like a French fantasy or perhaps a European wishful thinking. I have to say, when I delivered the speech in La Sorbonne September Â17, a lot of comments were about ÂOK, European sovereignty, this is a French idea, this is just a speech, it will never happen.“ But I have decided to make this word central to my political project and I have never forgotten that the very concept of sovereignty has as well its roots in the Netherlands. And this is a very European concept. Three hundred and fifty years ago, right here in the city of The Hague, one of the founders of political modernity, Baruch Spinoza, wrote in article 17, chapter two of his Tractatus Politicus, I quote him: ÂThe right is defined by the power of the multitude. We call it sovereignty.“ I will not lecture you on Spinoza, I want to reassure you. I just want to highlight that in Spinoza’s philosophy, sovereignty is a means to guarantee the essence of being, to persevere in oneself. To put it plainly, whoever wants to be themselves must be sovereign. In other words, and I want to insist on that, identity and sovereignty are intertwined. And I think this is very important to understand this link and the fact that Spinoza makes it as one of the founding concepts of precisely political philosophy.
Because if you accept to lose your sovereignty, it means if you accept to depend on other powers, you put yourself in a situation not to decide for yourself and not to be in charge of precisely continuing, preserving, developing your own identity. See, defending sovereignty doesn’t mean to shy away from our allies. It means that we must be able to choose our partners and shape our own destiny, rather than being I would say a mere witness of the dramatic evolution of this world. This means that we must strive to be rule-makers rather than rule-takers. And this we can do in a cooperative manner, in keeping with our spirit of openness and partnership.
But I think the wake-up call was made during the pandemic. We discovered that we were dependent on a lot of devices, on a lot of drugs, on a lot of products, suddenly. And even those who were supposed to cooperate with us, some allies, decided to ban the exports during months as long as they were not served and protected. And during the war, those who decided to cooperate, to make trade with neighbours, even if they were not allies, Russia for energy, because we decided de facto that trade could be the best way to cooperate, could create irreversible links and precisely avoid the others to be aggressive. They decided to weaponize the energy, putting us in a completely crazy and unbelievable situation.
Pandemic and war just pushed us in a situation to discover that we have to reduce our dependency if you want to preserve the European identity. Otherwise, we will progressively be dependent on everything. And it’s probably due to the fact – this is a sort of convergence with what I heard – Europe, and especially the European Union, was too much driven by a customer approach and not sufficiently by the citizen and the producer approach. And we didn’t build sufficiently how to ensure our, I would say, economic security. And my intention, what I want to advocate is not to in a certain way revert to protectionism and so on, it doesn’t make sense, but to try to design with you and to define in a few minutes what could be this comprehensive economic security doctrine for the European Union, to guide our European action globally. And I mean to protect ourselves, our identity and to put ourselves in a situation to define our current and our future model for ourselves. And for me, this new doctrine should be based on five pillars.
COMPETITIVENESS AND EUROPEAN INTEGRATION
The first one is very well known, but I want to insist on that, this is, I would say, the native one of our European Union. This is competitiveness and a stronger and a better European integration. This is the first pillar and this is very important because you cannot be a strong role model, you cannot promote your identity, you cannot defend on the long run, the European model, if you are not competitive and you do not put yourself in the situation to be the one to produce the best in class solutions.
This is why competitiveness is requested and this is why you have to pass reforms, referring to what happened at the beginning of our discussions. Indeed, for instance, just an anecdote to illustrate. You cannot live in a continent if you decide not to be competitive at a country basis, and you just leave competitiveness to the others. You kill your economy, but you put the whole continent in a situation not to be competitive, and in a certain way not to produce any more in your place. How to produce aircrafts, cars, but even software or anything else if you are not competitive? The customers you are will refuse to buy at such a high price. Purchasing power is a debate everywhere. You want to buy it at a fair price. If you want to buy it at a fair price and produce it in Europe, you have to be competitive to do so, i.e. passing the reforms, being sure that you innovate, you have good labour laws, protecting your people and their rights, but creating sufficient flexibility to be competitive in an open world. This balance has to be found. France was no more balanced, I have to be very honest, five years ago, six years ago. We decreased by more than two points our unemployment rates thanks to the reform we passed. And we are passing a reform for pension, I’m not sure everybody’s completely aware of that, but because today this reform is quite complex, but we have special regimes for some categories, which is not justified so we have to stop with that; because we are indebted and we have current deficits largely beyond your current deficit in Netherlands. And I’m not sure that the taxpayer in the Netherlands will accept that we will finance a long-run social model in France with European taxpayer money. So I will have to do the job at home. And I will pass from 62 to 64: when I compare, they should be less angry with me because in your country it’s much higher, and in a lot of countries in Europe it’s much higher than 64 years old. So matter of fact, competitiveness and reforms being with this notion are absolutely essential if we want to stay as a continent of producers and if we want to have the ability to decide for ourselves, i.e. to produce for ourselves. At the same time, we have now to insist on simplification and streamlining of regulation, which is absolutely key for this agenda. And we have to do much more on education, higher education and training. Because what is key for production in a very innovative world is to have talents, skills and to be sure that you train your people, being your native citizens or people coming for migration, to have the right skills for this current environment.
And this policy is absolutely critical if you want to be sovereign and if you want to have this comprehensive economic security doctrine. But at the same time, this reform on the competitiveness agenda, you need more Europe and more integration. We have to go further, and much further. We have to integrate our markets. Why? Because this is the best way to have strong players. When you create a start-up in one of our countries, we have to deal with 27 regulations in a lot of sectors. When you do it in China or in the US, because this is where the competition is at stake, your domestic market is much bigger. The chance, the strength of Europe is our single market and it’s how to better integrate the single market on digital, on industry and so on, and how as well to make it in common through discussions, sometimes controversies and this unique maÃ¯eutique of our regulation in Europe. But building a common approach.
It’s even more essential on the financing of our economy, and I want to insist on that. The financing of our economies will ease and will be more and more critical in an innovative world because you need talents and capital. And today, we are not properly equipped. We still have… We have a very good European regulation. We did a lot post-financial crisis. But we are still very fragmented and we don’t have a proper capital markets union, and we need it. Why? Because you have a lot of savings in a lot of rich countries, but the savings are not properly allocated. They have to go to very innovative SMEs and to poor or middle-income countries in Europe. If you want the savings to be allocated on the right risks and the right places where you have opportunities and returns, you need a capital market union to be integrated. This is not the case today. Our savings are in very rich places, but they don’t circulate and they are not properly allocated, which is for our competitiveness and our futures, I think, a weakness.
EUROPEAN INDUSTRIAL POLICY
So here is a first pillar of our economic doctrine: competitiveness and better European integration. This is a necessity in this economy and in this environment where we are at stake. The second pillar is having industrial policies. For a very long time it was a taboo in Europe because the first pillar was sufficient. During decades, the first pillar I mentioned was the alpha and omega of our economic policies. Having industrial policy was forbidden because it was an intervention on the markets to decide something, to interfere, to create bias and so on. But we need it. Why? Because our competitors today are interfering in the markets, matter of fact, and because we have to accelerate and because we put ourselves in the situation to be too much dependent, because of the unbalance between market and public intervention in Europe. Let me express by taking one example: if you don’t have industrial policy, you cannot create progressively your autonomy, or at least your de-risking on energy. This is impossible. If you don’t have a political interference or, I would say, an intervention of industrial policy, you cannot create your own net zero industry. You cannot create or strengthen your own chips industry. Because the other powers are interfering on that and they have an industrial policy. And you cannot be the only lasting peace of this world with a market without industrial policy. The US has one and strengthened it, China has one. We need a European one.
It doesn’t mean to become autarchic in this world, but it’s how to be to have more autonomy or to better diversify your dependencies to be sure that you are not trapped in a crazy situation, so there’s something wrong will happen. So having additional policies would ease and will be critical in several fields and I want to insist just on this one. One energy during the past year will make a wonderful collective job. We diversified our gas furniture. We were over-dependent on Russia. We diversified through our market interventions, finding new producers from gas. But what we will have to do is to build a new strategy where we will have progressively to reduce our dependencies and build more sovereignty on energy. Which means that you can reconcile climate, and I totally agree, sovereignty and industry by creating your own energies who basically less consumption and more energy efficiency and innovation, European innovation, but more renewables on the European soil and more nuclear energy on the European soil. This is clearly an industrial policy we are putting in place and we have to put in place. Because you have to put subsidies at the federal and national level to increase and accelerate these policies and you have to find the right incentives to do so. Otherwise, everybody will be driven by short-term incentives and not take into consideration some singles and price.
You want them to take into consideration, your independence, sovereignty and climate change. This is an industrial policy where you have to gather industry, climate and sovereignty. Second, all the technologies and so on you need in order to deal with climate change. We will fix climate change with a lot of regulations and I know that your country, I mean, knows very well what can happen when you put people and you progressively ask them to make a change for regulation when you have to do so. This is our agenda, this is what we decided for all soil at the European scale. But we can do it as well if we produce a solution on our soil and this is critical if we want to reconcile climate change, industry and creating economic value on our soil and financing our social model because this is not justice if there is no more production. If you don’t produce money, you have no debate on how to share this money. And this is a big risk. If we rush for climate change, if we promote solutions we will buy and if we don’t produce these solutions. And this is exactly what’s at stake today in the current environment.
This is why we need industrial policy in Europe for net-zero industry. And this is exactly the document issued by the European Commission a few days ago to promote this Net-Zero Industry Act which is very important. This is how to accept some subsidies, some stated a current regulatory framework but to be sure that we will produce and attract a maximum of innovations and new industries helping us to deal with carbon neutrality. This is critical, otherwise we will lose our sovereignty and our ability to decide. We will fit with the requirements, we will become a neutral for 2050 but with Chinese or American technologies which will put us at risk and create a huge turmoil because it will kill jobs and it will create a situation where we will not be in a situation to decide for ourselves. It’s obviously the same on defence where we need a common industry and we have to streamline our organization and we need this approach. And from the Chips Act boosting R&D and producing much more on this critical field to the Net-Zero Industry Act and so on, this second pillar of precisely an industrial policy in our Europe is absolutely key.
As I don’t want to be too long, I would say that it’s exactly the same. We have to bear in mind for all the pillars where we don’t want to be too much dependent. We want to be open, we want allies, we want good friends, we want partners but we always want to be in a situation to choose them, not to be 100% dependent on them. And it’s exactly the same on agriculture. We have to make a lot of changes to make our agriculture and food model compatible with climate change. But if the result of our policy is to import more and more products coming from countries less restrictive than we are or less demanding than we are, this is a failure at the end. So we have… we do need an industrial policy for our agriculture, precisely to produce here with our rules but to help our producers to do more. And this is why we did advocate at the European scale a protein plan to be less dependent on protein and to produce more on our continent.
PROTECTING EUROPE’S STRATEGIC INTERESTS
The third pillar of this strategy according to me is protection, protection of our interests. I would say the defensive side of this offensive strategy I mentioned with industrial policy. Indeed, we have to accept to protect vital interests in strategic assets when we consider they could be put at risk, when you have hostile action or distortive actions or practices. And I think this is very important. Based on security and public order criteria, the EU has for the first time equipped itself with a tool allowing to block or ban holdings or foreign acquisitions in strategic companies. What we decided through this regulation is a complete ideological change. Until very recently, we just considered we were open without any conditions. We recognized for good reasons that we need a screening of these foreign investments on some critical assets.
We did exactly the opposite by the way, during and after the financial crisis when we pushed some Member States to fire sales, selling critical assets, for instance, to Chinese interests; I mean energy companies, ports and so on. We decided to do now something very different. So on cyber infrastructure, critical infrastructure, cyber security, everywhere we consider we have vulnerabilities or national and European security at risk, we are entitled to have this protection mechanism to be activated and precisely to have this preventive side. This is the same on a lot of other issues from defence to technologies and so on. And I think it’s very important.
And according to me, this is exactly how and why we have to follow up on the digital side regarding content, speaking about education and culture. We just… we were driven by free speech. I do defend and I do advocate this notion and I’m a big defender of this free speech approach and freedom of content because it’s part of the European model. But let’s be clear, when you are open without any regulation to protect yourself in this content, you expose yourself to propaganda coming from outside, you expose yourself to algorithms decided elsewhere. And you put your children, your people, sometimes your democracy at risk because it can be manipulated by other interests and by people deciding for yourself. And this is why we have now a new continent on this protective side which is how we want to protect the content of our social medias, our artificial intelligence on all these innovations where, I mean, we are exposed to, and which can interfere in the education of our children or the functioning of our democracy. We have to be very smart, sophisticated, coordinated and we need a common approach. We started to do so with the famous directive DSA. We started to regulate the content. But we will have to go further, we know that just to protect our model and our European model and not to be in the hands of non-European private interests or non-European government interests. And I think this prevention pillar and this protection pillar is very important.
The fourth pillar of our doctrine, according to me, would be reciprocity. And it would constitute in the context of a more transactional and mutually beneficial approach a very important circle of action of the EU. I know that the reciprocity dimension which is certainly the most demanding at EU level is sometimes difficult to admit. But I also observe that mindsets have gradually evolved in this area as well. I took almost 10 years for the… it took almost 10 years for the EU to adopt the international procurement instruments just to ensure reciprocity in public procurement. Why? Because the European approach is always a sort of complex intrication of an addition of national interests. And sometimes the offensive points of some countries doesn’t meet with the defensive points of the other countries. And the result is that we wanted the market to do the jobs. We need reciprocity. And I want to insist on the fact that reciprocity will be core especially for the new generation of trade agreements. We will have all this debate.
We know that on Mercosur and some other trade agreements, this is very well known and it will be everywhere in your press and my press and our Parliament. I do believe in openness. I think that trade was very beneficial for the Europeans and very beneficial for most of the places of this world and one of the best way to fight against poverty. But you need a fair trade and reciprocity is part of it. And the free trade agreement must know to obey a rationale which goes beyond the purely economic logic. And I want to insist on at least three points.
First, sustainability. It’s simply impossible to conceive that our EU trade policy might not be fully sustainable. We should stop signing and accepting trade agreements with governments and people which don’t respect Paris Agreement and our biodiversity commitments. Otherwise, we put ourselves to over-constraints or at least constraints our producers following our requirements and our commitments but we will accept to import products coming from places less demanding and not compliant with Paris Agreement and biodiversity agreements. This is a double-warming approach because you will help them basically not to respect what you believe in. You will kill your industry and you’re important above that.
So let’s stop that and at this regard, the EU New Zealand agreement established a sort of gold standard in this area and should definitely be present in all future trade agreements which means that you need as an essential clause, not as, I would say, just a confetti or something nice on the cake, not the cherry on the cake. An essential clause of your trade agreement should be the respect of climate change and biodiversity commitments.
Second, it’s fairness and a balance in concessions to avoid any detrimental effects of the EU economy, especially regarding the most sensitive sectors. And third, to clear strategic interests of the agreement for the EU. How would the agreement provide privileged access to critical raw material, for example? How would it contribute effectively to diversifying EU supplies in key sectors and so on? But besides that, what we need definitely is a mirror mechanism and mirror measures to be sure that when you put constraints on your producers, you ask the same to the producers coming from the country you are signing with. This is the only way to make these trade agreements sustainable and acceptable for your people and your industry.
My last pillars and my last points about this doctrine is regarding cooperation. We have to push, promote our agenda through a series of cooperation in order to strengthen and extend our multilateral rules and instruments and precisely to do more together and push this European model internationally.
First of this cooperation, we have to be the one to revitalize and extend the multilateral framework. WTO is no more functioning. We need it, so we have to promote and re-promote this agenda with the US and some others. But an agreement was found on the fight against illegal fishing in June 2022. The new head of… the new chairman of WTO is making a wonderful job. We have to help her to resume the very important agenda we had precisely in order to fix conflicts and to have clear mechanism in case of conflict. This is one of the best ways to be an open world more sustainable.
Second, we have to ensure compliance by third countries with high standard of values. To this end, we have a very powerful tool, our single market as mentioned, but the external part of the single market. And the transformation of the EU has been very swift in this area too. It now makes use of all of its policies, well beyond the single channel of trade policy. We have started working in this direction. The instruments, for instance, to fight deforestation, will, for instance, help tackle imported raw metals and processed products of which the production contributes directly or indirectly to deforestation, i.e. if we create a sort of condition of access to our single market, sometimes. The fact that you cooperate on an agenda you find as essential, you are much more efficient.
With regard to respect of fundamental rights, we know how much important this is, and this is exactly what we are promoting on due diligence, forced labour and so on and this is very important. I think this cooperative approach should be the one we use as well, working all together to team up all the European, I mean the European Union, its Member States, its development agencies, European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, bringing together and promoting precisely our agenda, our interests and our values with third country. But this cooperation is absolutely key with third countries if we want to be more efficient.
This is exactly the same approach we want to promote for our development model in the June summit we will organize, having all the Europeans working together to set up a new standard. As you can see with these five pillars, competitiveness and single market, industrial policy, protection, reciprocity and cooperation.
We can set up a new economic doctrine which will allow us to reconcile creating jobs, financing our social model, dealing with climate change and being more sovereign and deciding for ourselves. And I think this is critical. This is critical in this period of time where we have war and economy is being weaponized.
And everything in our economy will be progressively part of national security. And I think this is critical if we want to preserve our open model, to remain open and base our approach on this capital market model. But if we don’t want to depend on the other ones and if we want to preserve our values and our European model, which is based on the humanism and attachment to freedom and solidarity.
Here at Nexus, 20 years ago, George Steiner gave an important speech about the idea of Europe. And he said, Europe is made up of cafÃ©s. This extends from Pessoa’s favourite cafÃ© in Lisbon to the Odessa cafÃ©s haunted by Isaac Babel’s gangsters. And I fully believe – I very often mention this moment of Steiner, and I fully believe in the spirit of cafÃ©s, as Steiner said, on our great continent, from Lisbon to Odessa, because cafÃ©s are close to where people are bond and cafÃ©s where is a place where you can have controversies, discussions, you can share disagreements, but at the very end, you dream. Our Europe is made of dreams, but actual dreamers are very pragmatic. Otherwise they finish with the dreams of the others. I’m a dreamer, an idealist, but I don’t want my dreams to be dreamed in other people’s languages, I want our music to be the one to be played everywhere, dear Jordy, I want our literature to be precisely this permanent discussion between the different capitals of our continent, whose one of the characteristics is precisely to have so many languages and to be in a certain way driven by this permanent translation. I want our model of complexity, unity through respect and diversity to be the one to be preserved. This is why we have to reset this economic doctrine. This is why European sovereignty is not just a concept or a fantasy, but is absolutely, in a dangerous world, a necessity to live, dream for ourselves as Europeans. Thank you.
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Image: https://pixabay.com/sk/photos/franc%c3%bazskej-vlajky-n%c3%a1rodn%c3%a9-symbol-2366566/, TheDigitalArtist