Freshly reinvested, Emmanuel Macron will not depart from tradition: his first official visit will once again mark the importance of Franco-German friendship. The president will travel to Berlin to meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz there on Monday. Previously, the Head of State will be traveling to Strasbourg, on the occasion of the closing of the Conference on the future of Europe.
For these trips, the date of May 9 is particularly symbolic. This indeed marks the day of the feast of Europe. It is also the day of celebration by Russia of the victory over Nazi Germany in 1945 and of a possible demonstration of military power in the middle of the war in Ukraine, “two models will assert themselves face to face”, therefore considers the French presidency . In the hemicycle of the European Parliament, Emmanuel Macron’s speech will thus aim “to receive proposals from citizens and to raise a certain number of issues in the context of the war in Ukraine”.
The difficult beginnings of the Conference
Born from an initial idea of the French president, the Conference on the future of Europe had started very laboriously a year ago, between very limited enthusiasm on the part of some and the health crisis complicating debates and meetings. In the end, through a vast process of panels and thematic working groups, bringing together 800 citizens, elected officials and various representatives of civil society, some 325 measures outlining 49 proposals were approved on 30 April.
The Elysee also considers that this consultation was “a moment of democratic breathing”. And this despite a limited echo and criticisms of the place of citizens, considered by some to be superficial, as well as of what the political parties contemptuous of the EU have denounced as being too pro-European among themselves.
The final report of this citizens’ consultation will be officially delivered on Monday, during a ceremony starting at noon, to the presidents of the three European institutions: Roberta Metsola for the Parliament, Ursula von der Leyen for the Commission and Emmanuel Macron, France assuming the presidency. rotation of the Council of the EU until the end of June. It is now up to EU leaders to decide whether or not to give life to these citizens’ demands for a Europe with broader, more participatory and more social skills.
Parliament wants to weigh more
Hoping to see its political weight strengthened in this way, the European Parliament launched the movement last week, calling for the start of a procedure for changing the European treaties. A risky but necessary step for some of the proposals, such as, for example, giving Parliament a right of initiative or expanding Brussels’ powers in defense or health. The unanimity of the Member States, necessary on a certain number of subjects, taxation in particular, and a frequent source of blockages, is also called into question.