New Pact for Europe - National Report - FRANCE
This is the sixth in a series of National Reports to be published as part of the new phase of the New Pact for Europe project. According to the French NPE Reflection Group, France did have a leading role in Europe, but today its position seems to be weakened. As one of the founding members, it delivered many heavy-weight politicians who were instrumental in the European integration process. However, lack of political leadership, and the failure, in recent years, of the Franco-German tandem, together with the debt crisis, the migration crisis and the lack of transparency, created the impression the EU is a dysfunctional organisation. Drawing on the discussions held amongst the members of the group, the report presents a set of conclusions on how to counter this perception, and address the key challenges the Union and its member states are facing at the moment:
- As stated by President Emmanuel Macron, France needs to successfully implement structural reforms to earn or consolidate the trust of its partners, namely Germany. Then, and only then, will France be able to regain influence on the course of European integration.
- In the area of migration, the Group called for a common migration policy that fundamentally differs from, and corrects, the Dublin system. The EU cannot afford to uphold its current dysfunctional policy: since the beginning of the crisis, intergovernmentalism in decision-making has hampered the emergence of viable common solutions. The Turkey deal is now challenged by most NRG members as being unacceptable.
- The crisis has laid bare the fundamental policy mistakes and structural flaws of the EMU – and revealed a certain inclination for half-baked situations. The coordination of the different economic policies remains a huge hurdle to address. In fact, there is no growth potential because there is no growth policy. To mitigate the unsustainably high level of unemployment, especially among young people, massive investments are required in sustainable and renewable energy and the digital economy. A consensus has also emerged on the fact that future prosperity hinges on significant investments in education, human capital, training, digital education, professional training, and developing new skills.