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EBD Exclusive | A Strong German-Franco Engine for Europe’s Breeze

Emmanuel Macron’s election for the French presidency fuelled many debates about Europe during the past year. With his „Initiative for Europe“ he presented end of September, he outlined a roadmap for deeper European integration driven by a strong German-Franco engine. What is Macron’s outlook on Europe defined by and how will his visions reshape the Union? And most of all, what is Germany’s role in Macron’s plans for Europe?

In order to assess these questions, the European Movement Germany and the European Movement France invited participants to join an EBD Exclusive that was titled: What does Paris expect from Berlin? Perspectives on the German-Franco Engine.“The two speakers of the event were Yves Bertoncini, President of the European Movement France since 2016 and Vice President of the European Movement International since November 2017, and Bernd Hüttemann, Secretary General of the European Movement Germany and Vice President of the European Movement International. They presented the positions and expectations the biggest networks for European politics in France and Germany have for German, French and European policy.

Considering the responsibilities that Germany and France have as driving forces behind reforming the European Union, Yves Bertoncini stressed the importance of a stable German government. Only a strong German-Franco engine is able to tackle issues like climate, migration and a strong labour market.

Mutual demands were also raised. France calls for more German input when it comes to climate preservation and more involvement in planning the so-called transfer union. On the recently revised Posted Workers Directive, which will influence the entire European labour market, both France and Germany need to act more proactively in order to secure competition and improve social standards.

There was consensus that the EU will be composed of 27 member states and a restrictive view on a „core Europe“ should be rejected.

The debate turned into a vivid exchange during its final stages. Especially the elections for the European Parliament in 2019, everyone agreed, will be essential in creating a unified and more democratic Europe. Macron’s planned reforms to achieve that are ambitious, however, considering phenomena like Brexit, populism and nationalism, they are more necessary than ever. What they require, however, is a vigorous Franco-German commitment.

Together with 20 representatives from the EM Germany’s network, the European Movement Germany and the European Movement France exchanged thoughts and ideas on the German-Franco relationship and a common European future.