France to promote "strong ambition" for Europe at EU elections
European Union – Migration/European elections – Interview given by Mme Nathalie Loiseau, Minister for European Affairs, to Europe 1 radio (excerpts)
Paris, 22 August 2018
Q. – Fifteen months after he was elected, is Emmanuel Macron still the European who wants to transform the EU? What will be the first concrete step forward as a result of Europe moving?
THE MINISTER – More than ever, because the European Union needs to be transformed. We’re facing challenges which require a European response. We’re here to talk about immigration; as we know, the migration challenge can’t be tackled by everyone, every European country individually; we could talk about defence – we’re in an increasingly unstable world, [and] we’ve made more progress on Defence Europe in the past six months than we’ve made in the past 60 years…
Q. – Meaning?
THE MINISTER – Meaning we’ve set up a fund to pay for European operational defence capabilities, meaning also we’ve established defence cooperation projects between European countries – what’s been called a “military Schengen” –, for example, to ensure that troops and military materiel can move all over Europe without difficulty. And we’re going to make new proposals in the autumn. In the social sphere, we’ve reformed the posted workers regime. It’s the first time we’ve made such marked progress in the European Union in social terms. We don’t want to resign ourselves to the European Union seeking the lowest common denominator on social standards – quite the opposite.
Q. – So, the European elections are in May, in nine months. Will they be the real test of whether Emmanuel Macron’s European vision is shared by the French people?
THE MINISTER – They will be a broader test than that, one pitting progressives – who want an ambitious Europe which protects people and is respected on the international stage – against those who believe in turning inwards, the nationalists; so with Emmanuel Macron, with the majority we’ll be promoting a strong ambition for Europe. (…)./.