We need to show Europe is very practical and helps people, says Minister

European Union – Interview given by M. Clément Beaune, Minister of State for European Affairs, attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, to LCI (excerpts)

Paris, 28 July 2020

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Q. – Do you feel that what’s happened in Europe may also provide an opportunity to reconcile French people with this Europe which, to them, seems very distant, very technocratic, very far removed in fact from their daily concerns? Here, Europe is coming to help them.

THE MINISTER – Exactly. I think this is the task I see for the Ministry today, to show that Europe isn’t a something separate or technical, all on its own. It’s very practical. The budget negotiations lasted four days, we saw a lot of images, a lot of diplomatic negotiations, but ultimately it’s the recovery plan, it’s...

Q. – It’s something practical, it’s billions of euros...

THE MINISTER – It’s €40 billion. And billions of euros will mean practical projects. The French recovery plan amounts to €100 billion, as the Prime Minister and President have said. Europe will provide €40 billion of it – 40% of that plan will be financed by European aid in all sectors, including those we discussed yesterday at the Ecological Defence Council: energy efficiency of buildings, electric vehicles...

Q. – Europe is contributing to that as well?

THE MINISTER – Europe will contribute to all that and help support the tourism sector, all the recovery plan’s priorities will be actively supported by Europe. And so I think that’s the challenge, to show that Europe isn’t just people meeting in a room and speaking lots of languages; these are things which help people.

Let me take a final example: the Common Agricultural Policy, which is often talked about, the first European policy. We fought for two years – the President fought again during the summit – to guarantee French farmers’ income which is financed through this agricultural policy. Two years ago when the negotiations began, all this income was reduced by €15 billion; today the income has been stabilized and guaranteed for seven years. So I think we’ve got to show that Europe is something very practical and it helps people. (...)./.

Published on 30/07/2020

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