Status: 01/19/2022 1:42 p.m
President Macron presented his plans for France’s EU Council Presidency in the European Parliament. He wants to strengthen Europe – especially with a view to current conflicts. And he proposed defining environmental protection and the right to abortion as EU fundamental rights.
French President Emmanuel Macron has called for environmental protection and abortion rights to be included in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The charter must be updated “to explicitly address the protection of the environment and the right to abortion,” said Macron in his speech on the plans of the French EU Council Presidency in the EU Parliament in Strasbourg.
His unexpected push for abortion rights is also seen as a dig at the newly elected President of the European Parliament. Conservative Roberta Metsola from Malta speaks out openly against abortion. Macron was due to meet Metsola for lunch after the parliamentary session.
Course for a sustainable and independent Europe
During the French EU Council Presidency, Macron wants to set the course for a sustainable, strong and independent Europe. It is important to re-establish the three major promises of the European Union of democracy, progress and peace, said Macron.
To do this, the rule of law must be defended as a principle, otherwise there is a risk of arbitrariness. Macron named climate change, digitization and the issue of security and peace in Europe as current challenges.
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Macron wants a new European security order
In view of the impending escalation in the Ukraine conflict, Macron called for a new European security and stability order. A proposal for this must be drawn up by the Europeans in the coming weeks and then shared with the NATO partners, said Macron.
The proposal must then be submitted to Russia for negotiations. The dialogue with Russia remains essential. “We will continue to seek a political solution to the Ukraine conflict with Germany as part of the Normandy format,” stressed Macron. The inviolability of the borders, the free choice of alliances, the renunciation of violence – these are all principles that Europe and Russia agreed on many years ago. “It is up to us Europeans to defend these principles and inherent rights of states’ sovereignty,” Macron said.
The EU must not just react to crises, but act with foresight and not make its future dependent on the decisions of other countries, said Macron.
Macron calls on Europe to form a new alliance with Africa
Macron also called on the EU to form a new alliance with Africa. The fates of the two sides of the Mediterranean are linked, he said. Incidentally, one cannot tackle the issue of migration without addressing its deeper causes. A summit between the EU and the African Union is planned for February.
Macron described the fight against “illegal migration and smuggling networks” as important in order to better promote cultural, academic and economic mobility at the same time. Europe should also help Africa in the fight against terrorism, said Macron, and presented the cooperation in the Sahel region as an example.
Post-Brexit era: “Path of Trust”
Macron also addressed the relationship with Great Britain. In a post-Brexit era, the European Union and Britain would have to find a “path of trust”. “Nothing will challenge the bond of friendship that binds us to our British friends,” Macron said in his speech. But he added that building trust requires a “good faith” UK government that sticks to what it has agreed to in its deals with the EU.
On January 1, France took over the presidency of the EU Council of Ministers, which rotates every six months. After his keynote speech, Macron answered questions from MPs.