Between the war in Ukraine, possible zero growth, energy problems, and increased American competition with the Inflation Reduction Act, the European Union has no shortage of obstacles to overcome in 2023. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Reconciliation Treaty between Germany and France, the two countries will have a lot to do at the summit on Sunday to relaunch their tandem, three months after the postponement of a Franco-German Council of Ministers in a scenario of bilateral dissension. For Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade, Renaissance deputy, the Franco-German couple needs to be reinvented to adapt to the new challenges. The president of the European Affairs Commission of the National Assembly is also satisfied that the idea of European sovereignty is moving forward.
Do you think the European Union is strengthened or weakened by the health crisis and the war in Ukraine?
With Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine, everyone realizes that times have changed. These two events highlighted the vital need for European sovereignty. Covid has highlighted the European Union’s dependence on external actors such as China, while the war in Ukraine means the return of tragedy to Europe. In both cases, Europe has risen to the challenge. Faced with crises, it is about building European sovereignty for Europe as a power. Emmanuel Macron had started this idea in 2017 during his speech at the Sorbonne, this idea is now shared by everyone in Europe. The common front of the 27 in the face of Russian aggression shows that Europe is more united than ever.
Sovereignty that returns to the heart of the discussions, even though Europe lacks common projects in the essential economic sectors. How to cure it?
There are structuring subjects in Europe that allow this sovereignty to be built: defence, energy and economy. The war in Ukraine forces us to take our destiny into our own hands. It is becoming necessary to build a defense Europe. And for this it is necessary to develop industrial projects such as the future European combat aircraft carried by France, which has a sector of excellence in this field. The second challenge is our energy independence and decarbonisation. We cannot remain dependent on countries with which we do not share any values. At the same time, we must bet on innovation, as we already do with batteries and hydrogen. Finally, we need to get our economy back on track. The American Inflation Reduction Act is a major attack on our sovereignty and endangers the sustainability of our industries. To prepare for the future in strategic sectors, in particular to move away from fossil fuels and build a green industry, Europe must invest. with a sovereign fund. The Franco-German summit must allow us to give a forceful response and demonstrate that we will be united to face these challenges.
In Europe, nothing will ever be the same
Two days before the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Elysée Treaty, what is the state of Franco-German relations?
We are experiencing a change of era, a “Zeitenwende”, as Chancellor Schloz remarked, with the return of war to our continent. In Europe, nothing will be the same again. The Franco-German engine must adapt to the 21st century and open a new cycle in these relations. In a formula: the Franco-German engine must be recycled. I am convinced that the alliance of our countries is insurmountable to build European sovereignty and face the great challenges of this century. I believe that the friendship between France and Germany is essential for European cooperation to succeed. If the engine stops, there will be no progress. Emmanuel Macron knows this, and that is why we will celebrate this treaty, which is the legacy of a bilateralism unique in the world.
On the front of military support to Ukraine, do you understand German reluctance?
The Germans saw themselves until then as an economic power, they realize that there are also geostrategic and military issues. They provided weapons, but more needs to be done. The request of the Ukrainians was very clearly formulated: they need Leopard tanks. Several countries, such as Poland or Finland, have them and are willing to hand them over to the Ukrainians, but they need the authorization of the Germans who produce them to hand them over. I hope Germany accepts: Europeans must take the measure of the challenges that are theirs.
Understanding the language of others is the most beautiful sign of friendship
French and German students learn less of their neighbor’s language. The strengthening of our relationship goes through language learning and how to solve it?
French is still the second most taught language in Germany, although it is well behind English. It is essential that little Germans and little French learn the language of their neighbour. In the school we must put in the means to avoid this decline. We are allies and friends for centuries to come. The language of Europe is translation, said Umberto Eco. Understanding each other’s language is the most beautiful sign of friendship, so it is essential to provide the means at school to avoid this mishap.
Just over a year from the European elections, does Qatar’s door run the risk of undermining Europeans’ confidence in their institutions?
The revelations are shocking, Belgian justice investigates. The surprise of European public opinion is equal to what we have experienced collectively after this affair. Fortunately, there was a very strong reaction from the President of the European Parliament and the various political groups. There are several proposals on the table, in particular that of Stéphane Séjourné, who chairs the Renew group and is campaigning for the establishment of a high transparency authority in Europe, as is already the case in France. This body will make it possible to effectively fight against the impermissible conduct of politicians who get unduly enriched, while providing the means to identify such actions. European institutions must evolve towards greater transparency to put Europe back at the service of citizens. But let’s not be ashamed of all the deputies. It is not because the bad apples behave in an unacceptable way that the seven hundred parliamentarians fall into the same practices. Let us be more demanding in the way we control the elected, we owe it to European citizens and the follow-up to the Conference on the Future of Europe must be used in this direction.
Source : Le JDD