To build Europe only in French will not work

By B. Laprus

The idea of ​​President Macron of the new European sovereignty is based on the search for a consensus among the EU member states on security, economics, medicine, ecology and information technologies. In the economic sphere, it includes the formation of a special budget, the creation of the European Monetary Fund (through the transformation of the European stabilization mechanism), the establishment of the post of the European Minister of Finance, and the proposal to create a Eurogroup parliament (EU member states, in which the euro is the national currency) to give more democratic nature of its activities. As for the migration policy, Macron suggested not to continue the debate about the allocation of quotas between EU states. His position is to create a European program that will directly support financially local communities that receive refugees and ensure their integration into society.

In all Macron speeches devoted to the problems of EU reform, the red thread is the desire to restore France's foreign policy power as a great power, which is inextricably linked with the emergence of Europe as a world power center. At the same time, Macron defines a global mission for Europe as "the only geographical space that today has the necessary strength to defend the values ​​of freedom and democracy and at the same time equality and social balance, and which protects the common heritage of the planet, climate, education for all." As early as July 13, 2017, in an exclusive interview with Ouest-France, MacRaugh pointed out that "this is a sovereignty that is open to the world, and it requires that it be implemented collectively, as challenges go beyond national borders. The place of realization of this sovereignty today is Europe ".

After a May 15, 2017 visit to Berlin, Macron suggested the formation of a European Arms Fund to finance European developments in the development of new weapons. Merkel and Macron advocated the creation of a common intelligence system (including space reconnaissance), returning to the long-standing bilateral project of joint construction of European reconnaissance satellites (Helios-Orus), as well as the creation of a common police force.

Before formulating his new proposals for EU reform, Macron also held the first consultation with 200 citizens about their vision of the EU. Until October, the French government will hold such meetings with citizens to discuss the future of the EU ahead of the elections to the European Parliament in 2019. This initiative was supported by all EU member states. Such a debate has already begun in Croatia. In the near future, Germany, Spain, Malta and the Czech Republic will join the initiative. However, this initiative is not the most effective in the way of EU reforms. This is more the building of a common dialogue between the EU member states on a less controversial issue. And the initiative really finds universal support.

According to Macron, "the idea is not to repeat the speech in the Sorbonne, but to insist on the urgency of the situation, the need to develop a democratic European model." Recall that in the speech at the Sorbonne in September 2017, the President presented many initiatives to reform the EU. However, this ambitious plan in many respects has not yet passed into the stage of implementation. An important aspect of the proposed reform is the euro area with the idea of ​​strengthening banking cooperation and creating a separate euro area budget. France is ready to increase its contribution to the EU budget after 2020, taking into account the UK's withdrawal from the organization. The French president also proposes to ensure the social and tax convergence of the EU countries by establishing criteria that would gradually bring their social and tax models closer together. And adherence to these criteria would lead to access to European solidarity funds. However, the reform of the economic and monetary union does not find support for Germany.

In the opinion of representatives of Germany, it is possible to strengthen the general system of insurance of bank deposits only after the reduction of financial risks by banks of the EU member states. This issue will not be resolved in a short time. As for the euro area budget, the Secretary-General of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Annegreet Crump-Carrenbauer, stated that after the Brexit the EU faces a large number of financial challenges, in particular with the issue of compensating for the lack of a UK contribution to the EU budget. In this context, it is difficult to imagine the creation of a separate eurozone budget, when the issue of the overall budget for the EU has not yet been settled. Position Germany finds support among the northern EU countries, which are against systematic remittances in favor of the southern EU countries. The creation of a new post of the Minister of Finance for the euro area also does not find a positive response. In addition, in Germany, taking into account the mechanism of financial solidarity in the euro area, there were no positive sentiments with the financial support of Greece.

The project of the European Monetary Fund has been criticized by Germany, in particular representatives of the Christian Social Union (CSU). It is believed that reform is impossible without the introduction of such a mechanism in the EU agreement itself, which creates the main difficulty. Moreover, the representatives of the party are ready to support the creation of the fund only in case of its independence from the European Commission, at the same time putting forward criteria for providing financial support to states in a crisis situation.

It is important to note that in Germany the position of political parties is unified with respect to the dissatisfaction with the EU's financial policy on the Macron model. The idea of ​​the French president about a new European sovereignty with greater integration of the EU member states contradicts the position of the German parliament. In addition, the internal situation in the country has not yet stabilized - first the strengthening of the ultra-right Eurosceptic party Alternative for Germany amid the migration crisis in the EU, then a long search for a coalition agreement after the Chancellor's election in September. Angela Merkel, although advocating for EU reforms and expresses support for Emmanuel Macron, will not make decisions that could undermine the positions of the big coalition (the CDU / CSU bloc and the SPD) and the delicate balance in it, in which the CDU does not have a strong majority. The Chancellor's position can already be said to be weakened due to the long institutional instability and the strengthening of the Eurosceptic party. Today, even openly debates about the period after the end of the reign of Angela Merkel. Thus, Germany continues to take a cautious stance in the context of the change in the overall EU budget after Brexit and the possible intensification of the migration crisis. It is important to emphasize that even on the occasion of the dialogue between the two countries on the revision of the Elysée Treaty, the specialist of Franco-German relations, Barbara Kunz, noted: "I do not feel in Berlin excessive enthusiasm for the proposals of Emmanuel Macron or real debate about the European Union. Between Paris and Berlin there is a gap, and it will continue to exist. Moreover, the Germans are quite satisfied with the state of the euro area. " Therefore, a new aspect of the divergence of the positions of the two states is only a continuation of the already existing contradictions.

On April 19, Emmanuel Macron met with Angela Merkel, where the proposals on the reform of the EU, put forward in Strasbourg, were discussed. We can say that this visit has not yet affected the dynamics of bilateral relations. Given the divergence of positions on the above issues, it will not be possible to quickly find a consensus.
The words of the Chancellor of Germany that "by June we will find common solutions with France" can be implemented in the areas on which a single position has already been built. If we rely on the statements of the representatives of the two states on the revision of the Elysee Treaty, the decisions may concern, for example, the sphere of security and defense, where there is coherence and a document on concrete measures is being prepared (Permanent Structured Cooperation). But the declared development of a common position on the euro area issue in March this year clearly does not correspond to reality.

Moreover, in the agreement on the creation of the ruling coalition in Germany, it was stated about the intention to "financially strengthen the EU so that it could better perform its tasks, and pave the way for creating an investment budget for the euro area." It also stressed the creation of the European Monetary Fund and the increase in the national share of Germany in the EU budget. Apparently, this intention was only declarative, because today this position contradicts the statements of the coalition.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said that "the French president understands that all his initiatives can not be realized, we are now studying what can be done, but without requiring too much from other EU states." For the French president, the reform of the EU is almost the main goal since the election campaign. Therefore, before the elections of the European Parliament in 2019 for the French president, the maximum implementation of initiatives for EU reform is necessary. In summarizing the results of the first year of Emmanuel Macron's reign, it was necessary to identify the issue of EU reform in a new speech, emphasizing certain aspects. At the same time, among all the initiatives to reform the EU, in his speech to the European Parliament, Macron stressed the most controversial of them. Among the EU member states there is no consensus on measures to resolve the migration crisis. And a unified position on economic and financial issues is also not developed. These uncoordinated issues will not yet lead to a global reform of the EU.

"Real France has returned," said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker during a debate in the plenary. But, he added that "we will not forget that Europe is not only France and Germany."

It is already clear today that it will not be possible to build Europe only by French standards. And given the existing contradictions, the French-German formula is also difficult to call a solution for the EU. Other EU member states will not follow the two states in full. And the fact that Emmanuel Macron primarily conducts a dialogue on the reform of the EU with Germany does not mean automatic support from other countries. Thus, the decision to be reached in June will only be an intermediate step in finding support for the EU member states in all aspects. And the idea of ​​a global reform of the EU is more of a strategic goal than an effective tactic to overcome today's challenges and internal disagreements.

At the same time, the plan for reforming the EU and the eurozone, proposed by the French president, aspiring to leadership in the euro block, met with rejection in the northern countries of the European Union. The finance ministers of eight European countries (Denmark, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Estonia) even signed a special statement warning against "far-reaching proposals". It notes that the debate on the future of the European Economic and Monetary Union should be conducted jointly by all EU countries, including those that are not part of the euro area. According to the head of the Ministry of Finance of the Netherlands, Vopka Hukstra, eight Nordic countries insist that "strong European economies will lead to a strong Europe". Therefore, the transformation must begin at the national level, while the member states must first comply with the existing rules.

In the field of security and defense, these countries have traditionally advocated the strengthening of Euro-Atlantic ties (NATO), opposing the ideas of the EU's defense autonomy. In addition, the Eastern European countries of the EU fear that the "Europe of different speeds", the leading role in which the Franco-German tandem will play a role, can lead to a new hierarchy within the EU, where the states entering into the EU during the last wave of expansion will be subordinate to the founding countries.

  
30.04.2018