Europe Minister hails decisive moment in building a strong Europe
European recovery plan – Reply by Mme Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to a question in the National Assembly
Paris, 30 June 2020
Yes, in Meseberg yesterday we witnessed an unprecedented, decisive moment for France, Germany and Europe. Unprecedented because it was the first time, following the Franco-German initiative of 18 May, that France and Germany paved the way together to their European Union presidencies. Tomorrow it’s Germany, in a year and a half it will be France, and after three years of the President’s tireless commitment to a strong, sovereign, mutually supportive Europe, three years of working jointly with Angela Merkel, they decided to join forces to make Europe succeed.
It was also a decisive moment, and the timetable is critically important because we’re duty-bound to deliver results, we’ve got to unite the 27 with an agreement in July on the European Commission’s budget proposal, it’s our common task.
It’s also the task I’m undertaking for the President; I’ve been to Austria and the Netherlands, and this evening I’m off to Sweden, because we’ve got to convince every member State that this plan is good for all European people and countries.
You’re familiar with the position France champions: this European budget must be ambitious, it must allow our climate, agriculture, defence and space sovereignty to be rebuilt. For us, the recovery plan should comprise at least €500 billion in grants – this is absolutely essential – for the hardest-hit sectors and regions, and we think we should do this through shared debt, with own resources to repay it, so that the burden on national budgets isn’t increased too much.
As you know, many benefit from Europe and don’t contribute enough to it. I’m thinking here of the polluters, I’m thinking of those who import plastic, I’m thinking of the carbon border tax, I’m thinking of the digital giants, I’m thinking of the financial players; this isn’t about new taxes on households and businesses, it’s about resources to finance Europe together. And on this last point, as you know, the French Parliament will have to have a discussion in the autumn. It will be a moment of political clarification: too many on these benches have paid lip service to Europe for a long time; in the autumn, they’ll have to clarify if they’re for or against this strong Europe which the [German] Chancellor and President Macron are building, following on from Simone Veil and many of our other founding fathers./.