President Emmanuel Macron presented his vision for Europe in a keynote speech at the Nexus Institute in The Hague on 11 April. His comprehensive economic security doctrine for the European Union emphasized European sovereignty. The EU should have its own economic, foreign and security policy. “Europe should be a rule maker not a rule taker”. MSM did not waste any time on Macron’s vision for Europe.
Diana Mautner Markhof, 2 May 2023
French President Emmanuel Macron gave a keynote speech at the Nexus Institute in The Hague on 11 April during his state visit to the Netherlands. His message did not go down well with the US and its loyal followers. Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, in particular, wasted no time dismissing Macron’s vision and reinforcing Poland’s ties with Washington during his visit to the US on the day of Macron’s speech. Morawiecki stated that “Poland is the leader of this new Europe” – implying that the “old” Europe, to which France and Germany belong, no longer spoke for what Europeans wanted. Morawiecki is mistaken. Europeans do not consider Poland as its leader. (Countries formerly under the control of the FSU consider themselves to be the “New Europe”.)
The mainstream media (unsurprisingly) did not waste much time on Macron’s important speech and vision, choosing instead to focus on the 2-minute interruption by activists at the beginning of his speech. But Macron did not let this faze him. Just because one disagrees with a law (referring to his since-passed pension reform) and democratically elected representatives does not mean one can resort to violence. Macron’s response: “THIS is what puts democracy at risk”, a message greeted by much applause from the packed auditorium.
Macron’s pension reform will increase the pension age from 62 to 64. Only Ukraine has a lower pension age (60). Even after the reform, France’s pension age will be below the European average of 65, with many European countries now incrementally increasing the pension age to 67.
In the following 50 plus minutes Macron went on to elaborate on his “Plan for Europe” delivered in 2017 at the Sorbonne University in Paris. Macron’s “The Future of Europe” speech in the Hague in 2023 emphasized that “European sovereignty is a necessity”. The French President laid out a roadmap for a comprehensive economic security doctrine for the European Union. This doctrine would give Europe its own voice, its own choice and the power to make independent decisions, a message his Polish counterpart, Prime Minister Morawiecki, does not agree with.
During remarks delivered at the White House on 11 April Morawiecki made clear: “Poland wants to build the strongest army in Europe. That is why we want to cooperate with the most advanced defense industry in the world, which is the American industry. And Poland believes that only a strong transatlantic alliance is the answer to this specter of imperialism, colonialism, and nationalism — and all imperialism, not only Russia.” He goes on to refer indirectly to Macron: “Some European politicians, betrayed by the Russian bear, seek a deal with others, but this is the way of dividing the West. We have to protect our nations from Russian propaganda. We have to protect against infiltration.”
Obviously Morawiecki did not take the time to listen to Macron, one of the few European politicians standing up for an independent and strong Europe. While Morawiecki wants Europe to follow the US, no matter where this might lead, Macron has a dream for Europe: “Our Europe is made of dreams. Actual dreamers are very pragmatic, otherwise they finish with the dreams of the others. I am a dreamer and idealistic, but I do not want my dreams to be dreamt in a [foreign] language, I want our music to be played everywhere. I want our literature to be the discussion between the different capitals of our continent… I want our model of complexity, unity through respect and diversity to be the one to be preserved. This is why we have to reset this economic transition. European sovereignty is not a concept or fantasy, in this dangerous world. It is a necessity to live and dream for ourselves as Europeans.”
Macron wants Europe to be able to choose its own partners and shape its own destiny, rather than being, as he put it, “a mere witness of the dramatic evolution of this world … Europe should be a rule maker rather than rule taker.” He sees Europe achieving this goal through cooperation “in keeping with our spirit of openness and partnership”. Macron has a vision for a new economic security doctrine based on five pillars.
The first pillar is competitiveness and a better European integration to be achieved by passing reforms, simplification and streamlining of regulation, more innovation, implementation of competitive labor laws, and investing in human capital.
The second pillar is a European industrial policy. As Macron points out, China and the US have industrial policies, only the EU has shied away from this topic – for too long. Having an industrial policy will level the playing field. Europe should be able to support its key strategic industries such as those producing automobiles, aircraft, energy, technology, agriculture, and the defense industry. Climate goals can be reached through an effective industrial policy, which will involve subsidies at the EU and national level and energy self-sufficiency. The proposed Net Zero Industry Act is a step in this direction.
The third pillar is protection of European interests. Macron calls this the “defensive side of this offensive industrial policy” to protect vital interests and strategic critical assets from hostile action by foreign companies or non-European governments. In the future, the EU must block or ban foreign acquisitions in strategic sectors. This includes protecting energy companies, ports, cyber infrastructure, cyber security, critical infrastructure, digital sovereignty, and defense technology. Regulating and controlling the market power of Big Tech is included in this pillar.
The fourth pillar is reciprocity. Macron describes this pillar as “a transactional and mutually beneficial approach” to a new generation of trade agreements. He advocates fair trade which can only be achieved through reciprocity based on 1.) sustainability; meaning that anyone doing trade with the EU must adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement and abide by the EU’s bio-diversity commitments. Anything less than this would be a “double whammy” for EU producers. The EU-New Zeeland Free Trade Deal of 2022 should be the “gold standard” for future trade agreements; 2.) fairness and balance in concessions to avoid any detrimental effects on the EU economy especially regarding the most sensitive sectors; and 3.) a mirror mechanism; putting constraints on non-EU producers if the EU puts those constraints on its own producers.
Macron’s fifth and last pillar is cooperation. The EU must strengthen its cooperative agenda and multilateral roles and instruments. The European model should serve as a model internationally. This pillar would for instance entail re-vitalizing the WTO and the commitment to ensure compliance by third countries with high EU standards. As a condition for access to the EU’s single market, fundamental rights, due diligence, protection of endangered species and environments and the fight against forced or child labor can be enforced.
According to Macron, these five pillars of the new economic doctrine will create jobs, finance the EU social model, deal with climate change and most importantly, protect European sovereignty. Europe will make its own decisions. As Macron put it, “this is critical … in … [times] of war and [when the] economy is being weaponized. Everything in our economy will be part of national security.” This will ensure the preservation of the European model, our values, our freedom, our capital markets and most important our independence from other big players.
Europe deserves its own leaders. President Emmanuel Macron has proven to be a leader who stands up for an independent sovereign Europe. He has proven to have a vision, a dream for Europe and the will to fight for what he calls “the essence of being” European.
It is worth fighting for Europe and it is time Europeans wake up before it is too late.