The majority of European citizens no longer complain that Europe does too much, but rather that it does too little. This is true in terms of health, ecological transition, the digital transition, social policies, security and defence and migration.
The sovereignty agenda since the Sorbonne speech
In 2017, with the Sorbonne speech, the President of the French Republic put forward the notion of a “sovereignty agenda” to our European partners, meaning Europe’s ability to exist in the world to defend our values and interests.
This agenda for a sovereign Europe has been deployed for the past four years:
- With regard to the ecological transition, Europe aims to be carbon neutral by 2050, now devotes one third of its budget to combating global warming, and has established the Climate Bank;
- With regard to digital issues, copyright reform and the removal of terrorist content online have been passed, and platform regulation and accountability will soon be a reality;
- With regard to social issues, the first decision was to revise the posting of workers directive on the basis of the principle of “equal pay for equal work at the same workplace”;
- With regard to defence, Europe has put in place its first joint military budget and the European Intervention Initiative, and France and Germany have joined forces to develop a future tank and fighter jet.
- With regard to economic issues, a historic recovery plan funded by joint European borrowing has helped Europe overcome the crisis. And Europe is progressively acquiring commercial protection instruments to no longer be naive when it comes to globalization.
The French Presidency in three emblematic and concrete texts: climate, social, digital
Many European laws will be negotiated or adopted during the French Presidency.
Here are three examples:
- Digital technology: our priority will be the economic regulation and accountability of platforms, especially with regard to hate speech, with legislation on digital services and markets (DSA and DMA);
- Ecological transition: our priority will be the establishment of carbon pricing at the EU borders for imported products. It is a matter of economic and ecological efficiency;
- Social: our priority will be to establish European legislation on minimum wages.
The Europe we want for 2030: investment, values, youth, culture, health
The French Presidency will help prepare the Europe of tomorrow. We are laying the groundwork for far-reaching changes:
- A new growth and investment model for the European Union and the euro area;
- European values, with protection instruments for our democracies;
- Young people, with the expansion of the Erasmus programme;
- Culture, with the Europe Academy bringing together some 100 academics from 27 countries in all subjects to enlighten European debate;
- Health, with a genuine joint research agency and major research plans, for example, for Alzheimer’s.
The French presidency will seek to meet citizens’ expectations:
Proposed by France in 2019 and launched on 9 May 2021 in Strasbourg by the President of the Republic, alongside the President of the European Parliament, President of the Council and President of the European Commission, the Conference on the Future of Europe provides European citizens with a new forum for debate so that they can contribute to defining Europe’s future policy for the years and decades to come. Citizens can express their wishes and expectations on the futureu.europa.eu platform, in transnational panels and at numerous events organized in the Member States.
In France, the government has put in place two mechanisms. Eighteen conferences with participating citizens chosen at random have been held in all French mainland and overseas regions, and broad online consultation has been conducted with 50,000 young French people. The final contribution of these national debates was submitted to the Government in late November 2021.
Recommendations made by citizens, in France and in Europe, have helped determine the priorities of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The work of the Conference on the Future of Europe will conclude in spring 2022, under the French Presidency. Citizens will be informed of consequent action taken.