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President Macron’s closing speech at the Conference on the Future of Europe

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I’ve some unhealthy information, I’m going to provide a speech. But I even have some excellent news. I’m going to strive to not repeat what has already been stated so properly right here at the moment earlier than me.

Madam President of the European Parliament, expensive Roberta,

Madam President of the European Commission, expensive Ursula,

Prime Minister of Portugal, expensive António,

Co-chairs,

Ministers, members of the European Parliament and nationwide parliaments,

European residents,

“World peace cannot be safeguarded without the making of creative efforts proportionate to the dangers which threaten it.” These phrases spoken by Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950 on the contribution which a residing Europe can carry to civilization are extra essential than ever. These inventive efforts are becoming for the instances we live in and are at the moment undoubtedly extra needed than up to now. They are becoming throughout these instances through which conflict has returned to our continent – as you’ve all so precisely stated –, at a time through which a European individuals, the Ukrainian individuals, is combating for freedom. They are becoming at a time through which you, European residents, Members of Parliament, Ministers, Commissioners, political leaders and residents with actual expertise, as you stated earlier, have accomplished a democratic train which has by no means earlier than been seen in our historical past or within the historical past of the world. You are the representatives of this residing, inventive, democratic Europe, this Europe of motion, and it’s as much as us to be its artisans, right here in Strasbourg, on this European capital which we maintain so expensive.

The sovereign alternative of the French individuals has introduced me earlier than you at the moment to let you know that it’s a historic job that France is not going to shrink back from, however will work even more durable to perform, as a result of France has as soon as once more clearly and resolutely chosen Europe in entrusting me with one other time period of workplace to work with all of you to construct a stronger and extra sovereign Europe.

Together we determined a yr in the past that this Europe we’re celebrating at the moment would enter a brand new stage. It was with President David Sassoli, and our ideas are with him at the moment as you’ve all stated so properly, and it was underneath the Portuguese Presidency, António. I want to commend the Presidency and the class of the Portuguese Prime Minister, who’s with us at the moment, for persistently staying loyal to this dedication.

Launched a yr in the past, in circumstances that had been a bit totally different, as all of us bear in mind, right here in Strasbourg, on this capital of European fraternity which has been regained, on this Parliament which homes what’s most expensive to us: our European democracy. This new section is marked by an unprecedented democratic train, which doesn’t consist in presenting our residents with maybe overly easy options, for and in opposition to, however totally involving them in discussions on the way forward for our Europe. What you’ve accomplished, and what has by no means been seen earlier than, is to be totally concerned within the design, at a difficult time in our historical past, and to create by means of collective deliberation, clever debate, exchanges of concepts, and options, a few of which could possibly be utilized instantly, others which should be developed, however all working in the direction of constructing this Europe of at the moment and tomorrow.

Today, on this 9 May, freedom and hope sooner or later are the face of the European Union. It is within the identify of this freedom and this hope that we help and that we’ll proceed to help Ukraine, its President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and all of the Ukrainian individuals. What is our intention within the face of Russia’s unilateral resolution to invade Ukraine and to assault its individuals? End this conflict as swiftly as attainable. Do all the pieces in our energy in order that Ukraine can maintain out to the tip and that Russia can by no means triumph. Safeguard peace on the remainder of the European continent and keep away from any escalation.

To finish this conflict, we’ve got imposed unprecedented sanctions to be able to block over the long run the sources of funding of the conflict in Russia. To help Ukraine, we’ve got mobilized like by no means earlier than enormous quantities of army, monetary and humanitarian sources. We must focus our efforts on establishing an efficient response relating to meals safety, and we are going to proceed to take action. So that justice prevails, we’re combating and can proceed to combat in opposition to the impunity of unspeakable crimes dedicated by Russia in Ukraine.

However, we aren’t at conflict with Russia. We are working as Europeans to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine in order that peace returns to our continent. It is as much as Ukraine alone to outline the situations for negotiations with Russia. But our obligation is to face with Ukraine to attain the ceasefire, then construct peace. We will then be there to rebuild Ukraine as Europeans, all the time.

Because in the long run, when peace returns to European soil, we might want to construct new safety balances and we are going to want, collectively, to by no means give in to the temptation of humiliation, nor the spirit of revenge, as a result of these have already up to now wreaked sufficient havoc on the roads to peace.

It can be within the identify of this freedom and this hope that we’ve got launched this citizen-based inspiration you present, this unprecedented breath of democracy. You have defined it so properly, together with your phrases, your generations, your work obliges us, and at the moment, doesn’t point out a full cease, however a semi colon, the tip of a stage of your work and the start of our accountability.

The President of the European Commission has simply clearly dedicated to assessment and attentively observe up on every of your proposals. I want to take the chance to thank her for that right here at the moment. We may have a concrete date in September, as you’ve simply heard. On behalf of my nation holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union and as President of the French Republic, I want to make it possible for this train is not only an train of favor or merely an instance of a technique, however that it really ends in sensible work, highly effective and tangible developments and that the residents of Europe can reap their advantages.

For this convention shouldn’t cease there. My deep conviction, in the course of the instances we live in and the conflict we’re experiencing, and which your work has confirmed, is above all that the crises should not distract us from our agenda. Many of your proposals don’t require institutional reform, however remind us of the need of our personal agenda. The safety of the local weather and biodiversity, well being and the standard of our meals. A fairer, extra inclusive Europe. A Europe centered on gender equality. A Europe which disposes of the means to defend itself, a Europe centered on solidarity, a Europe centered on defending our values and the rule of legislation. Everywhere, by means of your proposals, many very tangible issues are included. It might be as much as us, within the coming Council conferences and within the Commission’s agenda, to attract all of the related conclusions. I commit right here at the moment to doing so.

Your work focuses on two necessities that I want to come again to: independence and effectiveness, with out which there isn’t any legitimacy in our democracies. These two imperatives are additionally classes that we are able to study collectively from the crises we’ve got simply gone by means of and that we’re experiencing: independence and effectiveness. More European independence and sovereignty are what we want.

While overcoming the disaster of which means that it skilled for therefore many a long time, our Europe has rallied in recent times. Through your proposals, we see the primary thread of a strategic agenda that along with the Presidents and the Portuguese Prime Minster, we’ve got crafted, an agenda of strategic independence, this Versailles Agenda. The monetary disaster ten years in the past, the pandemic, and the conflict have proven us our vulnerabilities and the hazard of worsening their penalties if we don’t reply shortly and firmly sufficient to dependencies.

The venture for a Europe which is the grasp of its personal future, free to make its personal selections, a strong Europe which is open to the world however a world through which we are able to select our companions and never depend upon them, is on the core of our agenda. Remaining open with out being dependent is a situation for pursuing the European venture and for our democracies. You have drawn up some areas to concentrate on. They additionally correspond to what we are going to work on within the coming weeks and months.

When it involves defence, to take a position extra, establish the capabilities to be developed and to take action, construct up European industrial sectors, put together ourselves for brand new types of battle, whether or not they be spatial, cyber or maritime, and higher defend the international locations, represented right here at the moment, positioned on the European Union border. In the face of this new threat, a brand new menace that has remodeled itself in current weeks, that is our obligation. And all the pieces we defend would develop into irrelevant if we can’t, within the coming weeks and months, make credible our capability as Europeans to defend ourselves, and notably our japanese flank, by means of our cooperation, our allies and our alliances.

When it involves the safety of the surroundings, you’ve additionally so precisely written that we should cease utilizing fossil fuels as swiftly as attainable, and the conflict is making this much more vital. This means reaching what’s on our local weather agenda, being extra sovereign and making Russia withstand its duties. The conflict in Ukraine and our want to finish our dependence on Russia’s fossil fuels signifies that we have to be much more formidable relating to local weather points. We should make investments extra in renewable energies and in nuclear power. We should select the street of power sobriety and proceed to guard and help Europeans within the face of rising costs. Acting as Europeans to make our continent an ecological energy which achieves carbon neutrality.

We should additionally regain our independence in meals manufacturing. The conflict in Ukraine is vastly disrupting provide chains and international markets. We should reassess our manufacturing methods to first defend our meals sovereignty and protein sovereignty as Europeans. But additionally to have the ability to outline and reassess a method in the direction of the remainder of the world. If we need to keep away from famine, geopolitical disruption at our borders and tragedies within the Mediterranean basin, we should shoulder our European accountability.

Finally, democratic independence and freedom of data. You rightly place nice emphasis on this difficulty in your proposals. You have began to reveal what we really are: a civic and democratic energy. And there’s merely no equal anyplace on the planet, none. We should proceed to foster this civic energy by defending the liberty and integrity of data exchanged in our territory, defending the integrity of our democratic processes, and defending democracy and the rule of legislation in every single place in our territory. That is what we’re reliving by means of the heroic battle of our Ukrainian brothers. Democracy is fragile, the rule of legislation is precarious. Let us collectively reinvigorate them with new commitments. Our independence and sovereignty are the conditions for our freedom.

And the second main path which I need to stress is that of effectiveness. Yes. It is vital to reply shortly, strongly and clearly to crises, and to do it as a democracy. Think again two years in the past, even a yr in the past, what had been we listening to? Much of our public opinion believed that it will be significantly better to be an authoritarian energy to be able to sort out the pandemic. That it was significantly better to not have a democratic system. That Russian and Chinese vaccines can be our saviours. And what did we show? That free and open science, that the democratic, clear, deliberative and demanding processes in our nationwide parliaments and at European degree, that Europe changing into a well being powerhouse — and I want to commend the great dedication and work of the Commission as a result of there was no treaty on the problem or no textual content to outline it — collectively, we offered an unprecedented scientific, democratic and efficient response to this pandemic. By efficiently producing a vaccine on our soil, by changing into the world’s first space of vaccine manufacturing, by selecting by no means to close our borders, by all the time leaving our borders open and exporting and being the world chief in vaccine solidarity. That is the Europe of which we have to be proud: a Europe of democracy, free and open science and effectiveness. They all go hand-in-hand. And that is the selection which we should proceed to defend.

Looking again over the previous 15 years, within the face of the financial and monetary disaster, we reacted too slowly. Portugal and lots of different international locations like Greece had been extraordinarily onerous hit. First we had been divided, we withdrew into our nationwide egotism, we pointed fingers, we didn’t work collectively and we successfully advised our residents to adapt to a actuality and monetary disaster which, we should bear in mind, started throughout the Atlantic. We have to be humble and admit that the response solely got here from the European Central Bank and Mario Draghi’s well-known expression “whatever it takes”. But within the face of the pandemic and at the moment within the face of the conflict, we proved the other. In the face of the pandemic, the response which I discussed, but in addition the distinctive resolution in July 2020 to create a brand new funds, mutualized financing, a brand new ambition for a brand new Europe, by collectively elevating cash on the markets to put money into our priorities as Europeans. And within the face of the conflict, we determined for the primary time to mobilize the European Peace Facility to assist Ukraine to defend itself and combat, one thing we had by no means accomplished earlier than. We have to be happy with these selections of effectivity, with out which we might not be right here at the moment discussing collectively like this. And so, for this effectiveness [applause], you may applaud our Europe, which all of you symbolize.

Your problem for us is to be simply as efficient in instances of peace, when there aren’t any crises. And being efficient means making fast, collective selections, investing closely in the appropriate locations and leaving nobody behind – that’s what it means to be European.

To achieve this, it’s clear that we’ll additionally should reform our texts. And so I need to state clearly right here at the moment that one of many paths in the direction of this reform is to kind a Convention to revise our treaties. This is a proposal from the European Parliament which I help. I’m in favour of it. It signifies that we should now work onerous, on the idea of your proposals and work, to very clearly set out our objectives as a result of earlier than we start a Convention, we should know its general function. We know from expertise in endeavor such formidable tasks that if the target isn’t clear from the outset, it’s unlikely to be any clearer on the finish. You have given us a really sturdy framework. The debates and insurance policies mentioned by the Heads of State and Government present it as properly. And so we should set out the conditions within the weeks forward. And additionally construct consensus from everybody. And as I stated, I help this institutional reform. And I would love us to debate it with plain latitude and audacity, beginning on the European Council in June.

This will imply shifting ahead to attain larger simplicity. We know the trail forward, we should progress whereas persevering with to generalise the usage of certified majority voting throughout the board in our key public coverage selections. We should additionally proceed to make progress and set out how we are able to present extra solidarity, make clear our aims and the aims of all our establishments by setting aims enabling us to maintain our Europe united: development, full employment, our local weather objectives. In areas the place the foundations of so lots of our European establishments had been drawn up a long time in the past, and had been based mostly on aims which have now definitely develop into incomplete and won’t permit us to face our crises and the historic problem of our unity. Full employment, development, carbon neutrality and social justice have to be our establishments’ core aims.

Finally, as you clearly talked about in your work, to reform and start this venture additionally requires legitimacy and democratic management, deepening this unprecedented democratic journey and thus persevering with democratic improvements, as we’ve got been in a position to do by means of your work. I want to thank Madam President for setting the ball rolling along with her clear dedication simply now. But we all know that we should go additional. Our election guidelines, our guidelines for appointing our representatives, our management rules, our proper of initiative on the European Parliament – all that have to be on the coronary heart of this upcoming Convention. I firmly consider that we are able to start this work, and I consider effectiveness is the primary precedence, however why? Because I consider that if we are able to all meet these financial, social and environmental aims, we are able to act successfully, and above all preserve our Europe united. Because with out these aims, we is not going to succeed to persuade our peoples anymore that the European journey unites them, protects them, and permits them to maneuver ahead.

During this problem, we all know that we might not all the time agree. And we should not worry differentiation, or avant-gardes, they’ve all the time been fruitful for the European venture. And they’ve by no means excluded however have quite introduced ahead, and so they exist already, from the euro to Schengen. But in recent times I’ve been struck by how our need to stay to 27 nearly prevents us from being extra formidable.

I’m struck, and I admit this to be a partial failure, that we Heads of State and Government by no means handle to satisfy in Eurozone format. We are the one joint property managers who don’t meet amongst themselves alone, as property managers. We all the time have to ask the remainder of your entire avenue. We are afraid to confess that we’ve got larger ambitions, and from the euro to Schengen, it’s all the time the identical factor. And that could be a mistake as a result of these avant-garde circles don’t exclude others, however quite permit those that need to progress a little bit additional to carry the others alongside and to make the ambition fascinating, as a substitute of enjoying a extra dangerous ready recreation.

I do know there are considerations a few “multi-speed Europe” – which really already exists – however dashing up the tempo, assembly our ambitions, creating convergence at its core, with no predefined format, and by no means excluding, but in addition by no means permitting the extra sceptical or hesitant amongst us to decelerate this tempo, is what is going to allow our Europe to claim itself as an influence. This differentiation open to all is true to our historical past and the ambitions held by the founders, by Jacques Delors, and for our Europe. And it’s a prerequisite of this effectiveness and ambition that I spoke about.

Finally, to conclude, I’ll take a step again out of your proposals to return again to the context; I do know my phrases can be inadequate if I didn’t tackle this specific level. The conflict in Ukraine and the respectable aspiration of its individuals, identical to that of Moldova and Georgia, to affix the European Union, encourages us to rethink our geography and the group of our continent. And I need to try this with the identical sincerity and the identical excessive requirements with which you carried out your work, and with which I’m talking at the moment earlier than you.

We really feel in our coronary heart that Ukraine, by means of its combat and its braveness, is already at the moment a member of our Europe, of our household and of our union.

But even when we had been to grant it tomorrow the standing of candidate – the method is underway and I hope that we are able to transfer shortly – for accession to our European Union, everyone knows completely properly that the method which might permit them to affix, would in actuality take a number of years, and probably a number of a long time. That is the reality, until we determine to decrease the requirements of this accession and due to this fact fully rethink the unity of our Europe and even the ideas within the identify of which we maintain a few of our personal members to a excessive normal, and to which we’re all devoted.

Let’s be clear: the European Union, contemplating its degree of integration and ambition, can’t, within the brief time period, be the one method to construction the European continent. Already, a number of Western Balkan international locations have begun the accession course of. And this may proceed, and so they have a path forward which has already been paved.

Faced with this new geopolitical context, we very clearly must discover a method to consider our Europe, its unity, and its stability, with out weakening the closeness constructed inside our European Union. We due to this fact have the historic obligation, to not do what we’ve got all the time accomplished and say the one answer is accession, I’m saying this in all sincerity, however quite to open up a historic reflection commensurate with the occasions we’re experiencing, on the group of our continent. At a time when the Council of Europe itself, this household of shared values deserted by Russia, this Council which is correct right here in Strasbourg, can be being shaken by a historical past that repeats itself.

In 1989, President François Mitterrand opened up this reflection when the Soviet Union collapsed, proposing the creation of a European confederation. His proposal didn’t bear fruit. It was most definitely forward of its time. It included Russia on this confederation, which, in fact, was swiftly deemed unacceptable for the States that had simply freed themselves from the yoke of the Soviet Union. But it raised the appropriate query and this query stays: how can we set up Europe from a political perspective and with a broader scope than that of the European Union? It is our historic obligation to reply to that query at the moment and create what I’d describe right here earlier than you as “a European political community”.

This new European group would permit democratic European nations that subscribe to our shared core values to discover a new house for political and safety cooperation, cooperation within the power sector, in transport, investments, infrastructures, the free motion of individuals and specifically of our youth. Joining it will not prejudge future accession to the European Union essentially, and it will not be closed to those that have left the EU.

It would carry our Europe collectively, respecting its true geography, on the idea of its democratic values, with the will to protect the unity of our continent and by preserving the energy and ambition of our integration.

This is the proposal, along with the response to your individual, that I needed to make right here earlier than you at the moment. In the approaching weeks and months, I’ll try to seek the advice of and work with all States and governments on this venture to develop and full it, as a result of I believe the soundness and way forward for our continent is dependent upon it.

Ladies and gents, a yr in the past, I expressed my hope that this convention would herald the return of nice goals and ambitions. That is what you needed, too. And that’s what you probably did. And so, that’s what we will pursue collectively. That’s what Europe is. It is incredible goals and unprecedented ambitions. And it’s the collective capability to construct compromises that will generally appear laborious, however that are the language of Europe; that’s, the language of fixed translation.

Act decisively. Move swiftly. Dream huge. These phrases should not solely the prerogative of China or the United States of America. We are making these ambitions our personal. Let us remember the fact that Europe can be nothing with out this further contact of European spirit that makes us distinctive, units the course, offers which means, and makes our Europe this singular continent the place nice celebrations are held whereas talking all of our languages and whereas translating them by means of our common language, by means of music, and our European anthems.

So this path that we’ve got begun to map out right here and now in Strasbourg requires a pledge. This Strasbourg pledge for a sovereign, united, democratic and impressive Europe. It is as much as us to stay true to it, all of us collectively.

You can depend on me. Thank you very a lot./.




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