Posted on 28 September 2018

The Sorbonne initiative: one year on

On 26 September 2017, the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron presented his initiative for a sovereign, united and democratic Europe. One year on, here is the progress made on various European projects.

A EUROPE THAT PROTECTS

Common defence budget

With the launch of a European Defence Fund, which is now operational, the EU invested €1.5 billion in 2019 and 2020, and €13 billion in the 2021-2027 period, in research projects in the field of defence and industrial development of defence technologies.

European Intervention Initiative (E2I)

On 25 June, nine States, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain, launched the European Intervention Initiative with the aim of building a common strategic culture among its members. The E2I aims to facilitate, through the sharing of strategic preparedness work, planning habits, experience in operations and joint deployments with our  partners in operation.

Intelligence College in Europe

With a view to creating a culture of shared intelligence among Member States, the Intelligence College in Europe aims to provide awareness to European and national institutions on the challenges of intelligence. The first training session will take place in spring 2019.

Fighting terrorist propaganda

On 12 September 2018, the Commission proposed a new legislation to fight against illegal online content, in particular terrorist propaganda. It would force digital platforms to remove this type of content within an hour of its publication. The aim is to adopt the text by the European elections.

European Civil Protection Pool

The creation of a European civil protection pool, which would be supported by a number of shared capabilities financed by the EU, should be made official at the end of this year in order to be fully operational next summer.

A EUROPE THAT ADDRESSES THE MIGRATION CHALLENGE

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 was to adopt this new legislation in early 2019.

 

AN EXEMPLARY EUROPE REGARDING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

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.

 

A EUROPE STANDING AS AN ECONOMIC AND MONETARY POWER

Enhancing the euro area

A historic French-German agreement was reached in Meseberg on 19 June 2020 to create a euro area budget in 2021. The aim is to strengthen investment and convergence between euro area economies to allow them to better withstand economic shocks and make the euro area 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 euro area during the December 2018 summit.

Digital tax

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.

“It is precisely because Europe is in danger, impacted by the actions of certain parties, that we must show courage and work tirelessly to overhaul it.”

Emmanuel Macron, Salzburg, 20 September 2018

A EUROPE OF SOCIAL EQUITY

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 run contrary to the spirit of postings and are a source of fraud), applying the “equal pay for equal work at the same workplace” principle and strengthening anti-fraud tools. All of this progress has been approved and will come into force within two years.

A EUROPE OF CULTURE AND EDUCATION

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.

Copyright

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.
 

A EUROPE OF INNOVATION

European Breakthrough 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.
 

A DEMOCRATIC EUROPE

Public consultations

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.
 

49 measures launched:

22 initiatives have been finalized or should be completed in the coming months
18 projects underway
9 projects in preparation


Watch or read President Emmanuel Macron’s speech at the Sorbonne on 26 September 2017:

See all articles and topics