Emmanuel Macron is a politician, senior civil servant and former investment banker with Rothschilds. He served as Deputy Secretary-General and Minister of Economic, Industrial and Digital Affairs under François Hollande’s presidency. He is now leader of a movement, “On the Move” (En Marche), aimed at bridging the traditional political divides.
Macron says, “If these are difficult times, it is because the international context is itself difficult. … The temptation for countries to look inwards, to close themselves off, is gaining ground everywhere. … In such a context, we need to hold our ground, to understand where we come from historically and what that means today. It’s not about rushing off to fight wars when we have no solutions to offer. It’s about knowing how to discuss things rigorously with anyone, about never giving up on dialogue, yet always defending our interests and our values.”
“I want to implement a clear and determined diplomacy, in the vein of de Gaulle and Mitterrand, in order to make France an independent, humanist European power.”
“We will conduct our international actions according to three political principles which are complementary and inseparable: independence, humanism and Europe.”
Says Macron : “Europe makes us greater, Europe makes us stronger.” “Europe was created for peace, prosperity, and progress. Europe needs more liberty, more equality, more fraternity.”
Macron advocates an ambitious democratic debate across the 27 member states of the European Union in order to relaunch it, to reshape it, and give it a new European identity. “We will ask our partners to launch democratic conventions in the European Union by the end of 2017.” This would also involve an expansion of the Erasmus programme. “I would like France to set the ambition of enabling 200,000 young people – students or trainees – to go and live in another EU country every year, for at least six months, by 2022.”
He wants to strengthen the European Union by reinforcing “the five dimensions of sovereignty:” security, growth, economy, sustainable development and digital technology.
He wants to create a “Eurozone budget” managed by a “Minister of Economy and Finance under the supervision of a Eurozone Parliament.”
Macron adds, “I will keep fighting against dumping because fair competition should be respected by everybody.” He is also calling for a “Buy European Act” to protect European companies within the European Union, and wants to reinforce commercial laws and rules: “We propose creating a European Commerce Prosecutor to make sure that the commitments made by our partners are observed, and to punish violations speedily, especially where social, environmental or taxation issues are concerned.”
Macron insists on environmental issues being fully taken into account by the European Union: “we will reform the European carbon market … and make the Common Agricultural Policy more protective and responsive by setting up a system of income stabilization … and by encouraging a more environmentally-friendly agriculture.”
As a former Minister of Economic Affairs, Industry and Digital Affairs, Macron has put the emphasis on a “Digital Europe.” He wishes to establish European funds to help European start-ups working in the digital space, and is tough on personal data privacy issues.
Macron is also in favour of European defence policy and cooperation, and places French defence and security issues firmly within the EU framework.
“I want to strengthen Europe’s defence shield,” says Macron: first and foremost, this will require a “reinforcement of the European border force.” “There are borders around the European Union, and there are borders everywhere within the European Union. This is our true security.” He would also increase numbers at Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency.
Macron is calling for European defence cooperation through the creation of a “European Defence Fund to finance common military equipment and joint military research and development programmes;” the creation of a European Headquarters for supervising European defence operations in association with national army staffs and NATO; and the creation of a European Security Council.
“The Defence Budget must be increased to 2% of GDP. I want a more European defence capability and partnerships between France and Germany … The fight against terrorism is one that must be fought with great courage everywhere by our forces of law and order. This is why I have committed to hiring 10,000 new civil servants during the coming five-year term … We will reorganise our intelligence forces to build a more efficient and intelligence service, with better coverage.”
Immigration and the refugee crisis
Says Macron, “France must live up to its long tradition of hospitality whilst showing absolute inflexibility – but always decency – towards people who do not meet the conditions for residence in our territory.”
“We propose to develop a set of comprehensive agreements with the principal countries of origin and countries of transit for migrants. These agreements will be based on development aid, and will include the creation of border posts in these countries for migrants prior to their arrival in the European Union; assistance will also be provided in the fight against people-traffickers and managing the return of migrants who are unauthorized to enter the EU. Compliance with these commitments will be verified during an annual Conference, and this will determine the amount of development aid released.”
Macron has set the integration of migrants as an “absolute priority”: this would require “a good command of French above all – as this is essential for employment and social integration – as well as a good knowledge of the values of the Republic.” He wants to offer language instruction to every legal migrant, and to set up local integration programmes.
Russia and the Middle East
Macron states: “We must have a continuous and rigorous dialogue whether that’s with Russia, Turkey or the Middle East and the Gulf countries, always taking human rights and basic freedoms into consideration, as well as respecting both international law and our own interests. Europe has a commitment to reaching an understanding with Russia. Sanctions exist and they will remain necessary for as long as the Minsk agreement remains unobserved.”
“Our country must regain its position in the Middle East, especially regarding the resolution of the Syrian crisis. It shall remain engaged in Lebanon. The rapprochement towards Iran must be pursued, if the 2015 nuclear deal is observed, and if Iran plays its part in the stabilization of the region.”
Macron’s view on the Israel-Palestine issue is summarised as follows: “For us, Israel’s security is an inviolable principle and so is the legitimacy of a Palestinian state. We must seek the conditions for a fair and lasting peace that would allow the two states to coexist peacefully.”