On 26 September 2017, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, set out his initiative for a sovereign, united and democratic Europe. A year later, here is the progress of the various European projects.
Common defence budget
With the launch of a European Defence Fund, which is now up and running, the EU will invest €1.5 billion in 2019 and 2020, and then €13 billion between 2021-2027, in research projects in the area of defence and in the industrial development of defence technologies.
European Intervention Initiative (EI2)
On 25 June, nine Member States including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain launched the “European Intervention Initiative” with a view to creating a common strategic culture among its members. By sharing future-oriented strategic work, EI2 aims to promote planning behaviours, operational feedback and joint deployments with our operating partners.
European Intelligence Academy (EIA)
With a view to creating a shared intelligence culture among Member States, the European Intelligence Academy will be responsible for raising awareness among European and national institutions on intelligence issues. The first training session will be in spring 2019.
Combating terrorist propaganda
On 12 September 2018, the Commission proposed new legislation to combat illegal online content, particularly terrorist propaganda. It will compel digital platforms to remove such content within one hour.
The aim is to have a text adopted by the European elections.
European Civil Protection Force
The creation of a European Civil Protection Force, which would mainly draw on a series of shared EU-funded capabilities, should be confirmed by the end of the year in order to be fully operational by next summer.
Gradual roll-out of border police
On 12 September, the Commission set out a proposal to strengthen the capabilities of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) in order to enable it to create a permanent body of 10,000 EU border guards by 2020 and to give it more power to return illegal immigrants to their countries of origin. The goal is to adopt this new legislation in early 2019.
A more transparent and independent European scientific assessment
With lessons learnt from the debates on the review of glyphosate, in April 2018 the Commission proposed reviewing the health and food safety assessment to ensure greater transparency and to make expertise more independent.
Effective energy interconnections
The Bay of Biscay electricity interconnection will double interconnection capacity between France and Spain. It is due to be in place by 2025. With the challenge of the energy transition, the goal is to make use of the complementarity of European electricity networks in order to supply safer, more affordable and more sustainable electricity. The Energy Interconnections summit in Lisbon on 27 July brought together France, Spain, Portugal and the European Commission to develop interconnections in the interests of ecological transition.
Enhancing the Euro area
A historic French-German agreement was reached in Meseberg on 19 June last to create a eurozone budget in 2021. The aim is to strengthen investment and convergence between eurozone economies to allow them to better withstand economic shocks and make the eurozone more stable. With this in mind, France and Germany also agreed to finalize banking union and reform of the European Stability Mechanism. This momentum driven by France and Germany must lead to a series of decisions on the future of the eurozone during the December 2018 summit.
On 21 March 2018 the Commission proposed a directive to introduce a 3% tax on certain revenues resulting from digital activities, such as online advertising or the sale of data supplied by users, in order to put an end to the undertaxation of major digital firms. The aim is to adopt the directive in early 2019.
Harmonizing corporation tax
A French-German agreement was reached in Meseberg to set up genuine convergence of the corporate tax base between France and Germany and to uphold a joint position on the proposed directive submitted by the Commission with a view to creating a common corporate tax base across the EU.
Revision of the posted workers directive
With the revision of the posted workers directive, we made progress in three main areas: limiting the duration of postings to 12 months (long-term postings ran contrary to the spirit of postings and was a source of fraud), applying the “equal pay for equal work at the same place” principle and strengthening anti-fraud tools.
All of this progress has been approved and will come into force within two years.
European university network
The European Union set an objective to create at least 20 European universities by 2024 to enable academic institutions to forge close partnerships for student mobility and excellence in education, research and innovation. The Commission will launch the first call for projects this autumn in order to set up the first such European universities in the months ahead.
After the agreement reached on the copyright directive at the Council on 25 May, the European parliament vote on 12 September is a key step in protecting copyright and providing fair remuneration for online content creators.
European Innovation Agency
A pilot project will be launched in 2019 to finance breakthrough innovation. A European Innovation Council will be created in the next multi-year budget to sustain and strengthen this financing.
On the initiative of the President of the French Republic, the Member States organize citizens’ consultations and the European Commission has launched an online consultation based on a questionnaire compiled by a panel of European citizens.
In France, there are over 800 labelled events, 400 events have already been organized and 30,000 citizens have taken part. Feedback will be organized in France and then at European level by the end of the year, with a view to discussions at December’s European Council.
Transnational lists in European elections
In the Meseberg declaration, Germany supported the creation of transnational lists for the 2024 European elections, which was also encouraged by the Heads of State and Government at the European Summit in February 2018.
Source: Palais de l’Elysée