Regaining initiative for Europe
Europe is currently put to test by an unparalleled succession of crises. The most massive influx of refugees since World War II, destabilisation in several parts of our Eastern and Southern neighbourhood, unprecedented threat of terrorist attacks, high unemployment and social imbalances in many Member States, climate change and energy security: all these challenges our countries are currently confronted with require common answers and call for greater European solidarity and deeper integration.
Europe’s capability to respond to these challenges will predetermine its future. Our common European project itself and its place in History are at stake.
And yet, risks of fragmentation have never been so high. Populism, nationalism and temptation of self-isolation are gaining in strength in nearly every Member State, thus putting the core principle of European solidarity into question.
Conscious of our shared responsibility as committed Europeans, we, ministers for European affairs of France, Germany and Poland, reaffirm our common determination to reinforce cooperation between our countries to bring answer to the current European crisis and to regain initiative for Europe. In an uncertain economic and geopolitical environment, Europe has to be more ambitious and address global challenges that lie ahead of us with strength and fidelity to its fundamental values.
To this end, we especially call for:
- A common and global response to the refugee crisis based on solidarity, responsibility and humanity. The unprecedented and long-lasting dimension of the current crisis represents a major test for our European values. A global European answer encompassing every dimension of the crisis is of utmost necessity. France, Germany and Poland’s common mobilization, along with other partners, has allowed obtaining ambitious decisions during the JHA Council and the European Council last week. Building upon these crucial results, we will not only continue saving and rescuing lives in the Mediterranean, but also step up our efforts to swiftly establish a common asylum policy, to increase our support towards Member States and third countries which are mainly impacted by the influx of refugees, to establish hotspots in countries of first entry, to improve the management of European external borders, to intensify our fight against human traffickers and criminal networks, and to develop our cooperation with third countries of origin and transit.
- An increased support for growth and employment, which has been defined as a top-rank priority by the new European Commission. The implementation of the Juncker plan to support strategic investments within the Union is a first positive measure but major steps still need to be taken, especially regarding the fight against tremendously high youth unemployment. Given the importance of the Internal Market and its fundamental freedoms for European competitiveness, further measures targeting the barriers to its proper functioning should be placed at the core of our common pro-growth agenda. The economic crisis has also highlighted the need for deeper integration of the Economic and Monetary Union so as to reduce macroeconomic imbalances as well as growth, income, competitiveness and employment gaps that have grown stronger since 2008. Building upon the assessment and recommendations exposed in the five presidents’ report, the October European Council will represent an opportunity that we should seize to provide the Eurozone with stronger political governance, more coordination of economic policies, social convergence, increased democratic legitimacy and a proper fiscal capacity to support investment and innovation. This process towards genuine Economic and Monetary Union should be inclusive and transparent vis-à-vis all Member States and should not jeopardize the integrity of the European Union as a whole.
- A strong European contribution to the success of the Paris Conference on the fight against climate change that will be decisive for the planet’s future. Much remains to be done in order to reach the necessary agreement to keep global warming to less than 2°c above the pre-industrial temperature. The European Union should therefore remain at the centre of the discussions with its international partners, advocating for ambitious measures and appropriate financing solutions, in line with the negotiating mandate adopted by the Council on the 18th of September and with the energy-climate framework for 2030 defined by the European Council in October 2014.
On the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Weimar Triangle France, Germany and Poland are willing to maintain their close cooperation in order to promote a deeply integrated political Union, able to cope with these major challenges and to meet its citizens’ expectations.
Paris, 30 September 2015