France wants EU budget to support ecological transition

European Union – Statement by Mme Amélie de Montchalin, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, on her arrival at the General Affairs Council

Brussels, 18 July 2019

So today is the first meeting with the Finnish presidency. It’s an important moment for us, because this presidency is championing many priorities we share: on the climate, the rule of law, the social model and the economic model, and we’re also going to have an in-depth discussion on the European budget.

As you know, our goal is for this European budget to be an ecological transition budget, for it to be for the climate but also for biodiversity. So we see that in a budget there are two parts. There’s a part about spending. We’d like to go green, be it on agricultural policy, cohesion policy or external action. We’d like 40% of all European expenditure to be linked to the transition. And it’s also a resources issue, an issue of receipts. So we, France, together with a number of partners, our allies, would like the own resources in the next budgetary framework also to be own resources linked to the transition. That’s why we support the contribution on plastic recycling. It’s why we also support the border carbon tax. We’re very happy that Ursula von der Leyen picked up on this in her speech to the Parliament. It’s also why we support the carbon auctioning system, too.

And the other point I’m going to put on the Council table today is basically the ability to include citizens in this very special moment, namely the start of a new five-year institutional cycle. As you know, for months and months there were citizens’ consultations throughout Europe where citizens were invited to propose ideas which also fed quite explicitly into the strategic agenda. We think it’s important for citizens now to be able basically to express their priorities, say “this is what’s on the table”, about what Ursula von der Leyen proposed, through the Council’s strategic agenda, and also through the Parliament’s programmatic platform. What are citizens telling us? How are they commenting on it? How are they expressing their priorities? With the Finnish presidency we’d like to have this moment by the end of the year with the new College of Commissioners, where there’s citizens’ comeback and which is also about carrying out the transition, with Guy Verhofstadt’s conference on Europe taking over, more on appointments issues and then the decision-making process.

As you know, the French President said at the last European Council that the decision-making methods and working methods of the European Council, the Council, must absolutely change so that we become a decision-making machine again. Europe’s power lies in people, of course, but much more powerfully in what we’re capable of putting on the table, deciding together, and so this proposal is important for us./.

Published on 26/07/2019

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