A checklist for Hollande and Merkel
On the occasion of the joint address by Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande to the European Parliament, the European Movement International takes the opportunity below to recall the historical importance of this relationship for Europe and to lay out a vision for the future of the EU.
In the context of the European Movement International position, the Presidents of EM Germany, EM France and European Movement International stated:
Jo Leinen, President, European Movement International
“The European Union is much more than an economic endeavour. Since the Treaty of Rome in 1957 it is based on shared values: freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The conviction that working together in the European interest serves the European citizens more than nationalistic and egoistic behaviour should guide us as well in difficult times. European partners can argue about the right way, but they should always stay firm to their common values, without which the Union has no foundation.”
Jean-Marie Cavada, President, European Movement France
“The Greek crisis shook the Eurozone, and thus Europe itself. The refugee crisis made it tremble even more, by affecting European fundamental values. Both crises have been quelled for now, and the Franco-German tandem is back on a level of cooperation that had been long awaited. Those crises question once again our Union’s institutional, political, social, economic and diplomatic future. We call for the Paris-Berlin cooperation to deepen and initiate the new institutional organisation Europe needs to cope with the core issues that stand in front of us today.”
Dr. Rainer Wend, President, European Movement Germany
“President Hollande and Chancellor Merkel are at the right spot to push Europe further. It is a positive sign for Europe that the Franco-German engine runs smoothly (again). However, it cannot pull the cart all by itself. Europe needs a strong, persevering hybrid drive – with fuel from other capitals! Only if everyone shifts up a gear without steering in different directions, Europe maintains the chance to actually reach the once commonly defined goal of living in freedom and peace. Especially in times of multiple crises, we should not lose sight!”
The European Movement calls upon both leaders to stress the indivisible nature of the EU’s raison d’être as laid down in the Treaty on the European Union, with a focus on:
Promote peace, its values, and the wellbeing of its people
The founding values of the European Union – respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and the respect for human rights – are enshrined in the treaties and form the pillars upon which our common European construction stands. Clear violations of these agreements – whether in regard to the shelter of refugees, media freedom, the integrity of politicians and democratic systems, or other infringements – should result in the consideration of the use of Article 7 TEU.
Offer an area of freedom, security and justice
Freedom of movement and lack of internal borders are defining features of the European Union. As such, the Schengen agreement should not be brought into question, but rather supplemented with a proper Joint Migration and Asylum Policy. Europe should safeguard the fundamental right of freedom of movement, not in the least because labour mobility is key for the economic prosperity of our continent.
Establish an internal market and promote solidarity
The financial crisis impacted Europe’s economic growth, employment and social standards. A consolidation and extension of the single market is needed to ensure the sustainable development of Europe whilst safeguarding social protection and the environment, also in the view of the Better Regulation initiative. Displaying solidarity makes economic sense; because the sooner member states regain their economic health, the quicker they will contribute to the EU’s overall growth.
Establish an Economic and Monetary Union
A leading vision is essential to cope with any future economic crisis and take the EMU forward. This should involve enhancing the role of the Commission in European Economic Governance, with a ‘High Representative’ for fiscal and economic policy, as well as closer involvement of the European Parliament in decision-making structures. The social dimension should be mainstreamed into the overall governance structure of the EMU. Concrete plans for risk-sharing and a Eurozone fiscal capacity based on own resources should be developed, as well as increased budgetary and fiscal coordination for more economic convergence.
Uphold and promote its values and interests in its relations with the wider world
The European Union needs to speak with one voice on the increasingly competitive global stage. In the Climate Change negotiations, the EU must take the lead to safeguard the climate and our future; in the UN, IMF and other global fora the EU must speak with one voice if it is to enhance its influence. With regards to the promotion of peace and security in its neighbourhood, the EU should form a united front against hostility and territorial aggression. A long-term vision on the investment in peace and security in the eastern and southern neighbourhoods and the protection of human rights is also needed to deal with current and future crises.
Safeguard the integrity of the Union
At a time when we need to stand united to combat adversity, the notion that a member could or should leave our Union is unthinkable. Whether it is Greece or the United Kingdom, those that advocate exit only want to harm our Union and reverse the process of European integration. We must do everything within our powers to preserve the unity of our community, while respecting those fundamental principles and commitments to each other that bind us together.