Hallmark of European Council will be message of unity
Brussels, 19 October 2017
I’m pleased to be taking part once again in this European Council. To begin with, a word of solidarity for our Portuguese friends in the wake of the terrible fires which have just struck the country once again, with many people killed, and also the determination of a Europe which is getting more involved alongside Portugal and – I hope – support for a European civil protection force, following these events.
Today, this evening and tomorrow will provide an opportunity to continue moving forward this Europe which protects and which projects itself.
A Europe which protects is obviously, in my view, one which affords better protection in the face of migration, a Defence Europe, with our determination to go further as regards the European Defence Fund. It’s also a Europe which is able to find the right free-trade agreements, the right negotiations to protect its workers and consumers.
But it’s also a Europe of projection and ambition, with the discussions we’ll be having on digital technology, and the ability to set up a European investment fund and have our own regulations and taxation.
It’s also about the discussion we’ll be having tomorrow, from tomorrow morning – and I welcome it – led by Donald Tusk, to make headway on a proactive agenda from heads of state and government so that in the next few weeks and months, on the basis of the initiatives we’ve taken, we can have genuine discussions and genuine conclusions allowing us to relaunch our Europe on all the pillars of sovereignty, unity and democracy which I talked about.
The hallmark of this European Council will also be a message of unity: unity with our member states in the face of the crises they may be experiencing, unity with Spain, and also very strong unity in the Brexit discussions, because we’re all united on the assessments, interests and aims with the same negotiator, Michel Barnier.
Finally, at this European Council, at a time when several voices are currently seeking to create divisions and get France to turn inwards, I’m very pleased to reaffirm France’s commitment to the European flag and anthem.