France and Slovakia back strong ambition for Europe
Slovakia – Statements by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, in his joint declaration with Ms Zuzana Čaputová, President of Slovakia (excerpt)
Paris, 24 July 2019
(Check against delivery)
Madam President, I’m very pleased, very pleased today to welcome to Paris the new President of Slovakia, chère Zuzana, and I especially want to congratulate you on your election, but also because during the campaign you promoted an ambitious, progressive vision, a resolutely pro-European programme in your country, committing yourself on climate issues, on protecting the environment, on upholding the rule of law and fighting corruption, by anchoring Slovakia very firmly in Europe. By choosing you, Slovakian voters repeated in the clearest way that they wanted their country to be at the heart of Europe and the European Union; they also said that the rift between those who promote an ambitious plan for Europe – socially and in terms of the climate and defending our democracy – and those who succumb to the temptation of self-absorption, that rift in no way reflects a division between East and West, between old and new member states.
The desire for Europe is taking root everywhere; we simply need leaders to promote it, to uphold its values and that ambition, and that’s what you’ve done in your country. Like you, I believe in a strong Europe united around its values, and you symbolize it. That’s why together we must assert our ambition for Europe, and France and Slovakia have chosen this ambition through our practical cooperation on deepening the Euro Area, on taxing the digital sector, on defence, and on the climate by declaring [the goal of] carbon neutrality by 2050. Slovakia took a strong and courageous position on this issue at the European Council in June, joining an initiative which we launched with the Netherlands and which was soon joined by eight other member states. (...)
This ambition is also the one expressed by the President-elect of the European Commission, with whom I had a meeting yesterday and whose programme for the coming five years I fully support – in terms of the climate, with the European Green Deal that will be presented in the first 100 days, carbon neutrality by 2050, a carbon tax on the borders and the creation of a European climate bank; in terms of social and tax justice, with a minimum wage, the resumption of work on taxing the digital sector and strengthening the Euro Area, with the proposed setting-up of a European unemployment insurance system; for an updated trade policy to ensure our trading partners respect our rules, our standards; in terms of the rule of law and democracy, with the launch of a conference on Europe’s future, to fully involve civil society and citizens in discussions essential to Europe’s future; and for a Defence Europe that can protect its citizens through more commitments. On all these issues I think I can say, Madam President, that we see completely eye to eye and that together we’ll commit ourselves to ensuring Europe measures up to its destiny. (…)./.