For the first time in its history, the European Union - a unique project in the history of our continent - might break up, fall apart, and even cease to exist. The combined effect of the turmoil caused by poorly regulated globalisation, the severe economic and social consequences of the financial crisis, the impact of an unprecedented technological revolution, and the chaotic management of migration flows, has led to political or extremist forces seeking to exploit the concerns and fears of worried and confused citizens.
Europe needs a clean break, a profound democratic radical reform. The people of Europe have been excluded from the vision and destiny of Europe.
Europe cannot exist without its people.
It’s time for European Democrats to assert themselves.
The parties that have dominated the European scene in recent decades are no longer able to rekindle the tremendous European momentum that the founding fathers managed to create.
They are tired and have let down the people: the gap between the citizens of Europe and European institutions has been widening. Furthermore, European policies are all too often inadequate or incomplete.
It is time for Democrats to take control. We have a duty to share our European dream with citizens.
We live by the values of respect for human dignity, rule of law, freedom, equality, solidarity and responsibility. These values are embodied in our societies through pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, respect for national and linguistic minorities, equality between men and women, and investment in youth and education.
The European Democratic Party wants to and must inspire a new political constellation whose aim is to get Europe back on track.
There is no lack of work to be done. The challenge is great, the urgency is there. The EDP is taking up this challenge.
For us, it is time to re-found Europe.
The European Union is an incomplete democracy. It certainly has a Parliament whose powers have been increased over time. But its powers remain limited! It has no competence in the field of revenue, it has no real power of initiative, it plays a secondary role in the choice of members of the European Executive.
But above all, its composition is more the result of national dynamism than the expression of a genuinely European dynamic.
The EDP is in favour of the introduction of transnational lists for the allocation of a significant number of the seats to be filled in the European Parliament.
In this way, voters will be able to choose between lists defending programmes for the whole of Europe.
Too many citizens perceive the European Union as an anonymous bureaucratic machine, insensitive to their problems and aspirations and beyond the reach of their grievances and demands.
The EDP wants to help reduce this gap. It calls on the European Union to mobilise the necessary resources to ensure that they know that they have the right to petition the European Parliament.
The EDP also considers that there is an urgent need to review and ease the rules of the European Citizens’ Initiative, which allows them to ask the European Commission to make a legislative proposal on a subject that concerns them.
Given the rules that sometimes require unanimity, it is intolerable that a Member State which drifts towards populist and even totalitarian tendencies, should be able to dictate its will to all the other Member States of the European Union. Fully democratic peoples and nations must not and can never accept that such regimes should paralyse and block the Union.
The EDP advocates the introduction of the European Mechanism for the protection of Democracy, the Rule of Law and Fundamental Rights, a resolution passed by the European Parliament, in order to increase the capacity of the European Court of Justice to deal with breaches of the rule of law in EU member States.
Given the risks of populist, or even authoritarian abuses with which Europe is confronted, our proposal is to set up a system in which failure to respect fundamental values (article 7 of the Treaty of Lisbon) would lead to:
As an interim measure in the process under Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, eligible persons and organisations from the Member State may apply for European funding directly from the European Commission.
The European Union, like any other political community, needs a common set of values and references to ensure its coherence, guide its choices and endow these with legitimacy and meaning.
These values, which are at the heart of our common identity, have been forged over centuries of turbulent history. They have been neglected at certain times, flouted at others, but they have always triumphed in the end.
These values are strong: respect of human dignity, the rule of law, freedom, equality, solidarity and responsibility..
They are embodied in our societies through pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, respect for national and linguistic minorities, gender equality and the separation of powers.. Even if they are already present in the founding Treaties, they will only take on their true dimension when they are written down in gold letters in the European Constitution to which we aspire.
Education and exchanges are the two major keys to the future.
The intensification of political and cultural exchanges between citizens plays a central role in the creation of a European identity and stimulates forms of cooperation between European citizens.
Erasmus plays a vital role in strengthening the mutual knowledge of different European cultures, building common ground, and in the emergence of a European people.
The EDP requires that Erasmus benefit from increased budgetary resources - to the tune of a threefold increase in its annual budget - and has its scope extended to young apprentices, artists, and young entrepreneurs.
We need our young people to build a common European history, to know and understand the work undertaken by our common Institutions on the basis of common territory. It is essential to go beyond borders in order to progress towards a European public sphere, through means of communication at European level that contribute to the creation of a European common sphere that complements the national, regional and local sphere. The EDP wants the creation of a European media dedicated to youth, which would raise awareness of our common membership, could be promoted by public authorities as is already the case for Arte.
Of all the achievements of the European Union, the euro is undoubtedly the greatest. Since its creation, it has fulfilled the tasks attributed to it by the Treaties: ensuring price stability and promoting trade. It also served as a buffer against the shock caused by the 2008 f inancial crisis, supporting the management of public deficits and creating liquidity to boost growth.
While the success of the euro is not much discussed, the performance of the euro area is more controversial. In recent years, the unemployment rate in the euro area (which includes 19 countries) has been permanently higher than in the 28 countries of the European Union. During the same period - and this is still the case today - the rate of increase in the Gross Domestic Product of the euro area was lower than that of the 28 European Union countries. Moreover, within the area itself, countries diverge more than they converge in terms of performance.
For citizens, the euro is a real paradox: it embodies what is closest to a citizen (the money in one’s pocket) but also what is furthest from a citizen (the currency of an undefined area, managed by autocrats in opaque bodies).
The future of the euro and the euro area requires that these differences in perceptions and performance be reconciled.
The EDP proposal to relaunch the Euro area is based in particular on a concerted convergence initiative concerning the pro-European and pro-active members of the Euro area (from 5 to 7 countries), including the Franco-German couple. These countries would jointly define a convergence target for the economic regulatory environment, fiscal principles, social pillar and labour law; they would consult on one or two joint investment projects in the field of innovation, digital sector or the industry of the future (for example, a digital and artificial intelligence agency). They would converge towards this target, each freely, through their national processes, in parallel with each other over a short period of time (3 years); in short, it is a kind of parallel convergence.
The other key to the euro area’s relaunch is obviously to develop own resources deducted from national taxes, such as a tax on financial transactions or a tax on GAFANs (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix). This will include the financing of new policies and compensate for the loss of budgetary resources caused by Brexit. In addition, there is no question of introducing a tax collection system at European level or of increasing the tax burden on European citizens.
For the EDP, it is also possible and desirable, without having to amend the Treaties, to strengthen the governance of the euro area with:
To tackle future crises the EU must complete the European Monetary Union with a comprehensive Banking Union, including a European Deposit Insurance Scheme.
Research and Innovation have always played a decisive role in business competitiveness and economic growth. This is even more true today in this period of technological upheaval, unprecedented challenges to protect the planet from global warming, new security and defence threats, stronger public aspirations for a real quality of life and greater respect for the environment.
Europe must do more to address these challenges.
Indeed, the EU’s share of GDP devoted to research and development is only 2.03%, almost one percent below its stated target (3%). Worse still, 17 of the 28 Member States devote less than 1.5% of their GDP to it. Overall, the EU is almost 1% behind the US and 1.5% behind Japan, not to mention China.
The EDP wants the EU to remain a leading global economic power. That’s why the EDP is asking:
For centuries, industry was the basis of the power of European states, particularly in the 19th and 20th centuries. This is still the case today, even though the service sector has gradually taken on a prominent role
The figures speak for themselves. European industry provides employment for more than 30 million people. It produces 17% of the value added and created in Europe and represents nearly 70% of its total exports. Each job in the industrial sector contributes to the direct or indirect creation of two other jobs in the value chain. Despite this, it cannot be said that there is a real industrial policy in Europe. The only one that existed - for coal and steel - was written off.
It is true that the EU remains among the world leaders in many sectors: chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metal manufacturing, transport (air, rail, road), etc. But we are lagging behind the USA in the sectors of the future and threatened by China’s rise to power
An urgent reaction is needed. The EDP suggests:
Despite the provision in the Treaties, in practice, Social Europe has so far been closely instrumentalised and subjected to functional ideology, due to the assumption that social integration would automatically occur as a result of market integration.This assumption was not borne out in fact, and the recent crisis has unveiled major social inequalities between European citizens and the lack of satisfaction concerning several social needs.
Against this background, the EDP suggests the following proposals :
The European Pillar of Social Rights is one of the EDP’s major priorities for the forthcoming years ideally a specific treaty on the Social Europe should define its general objectives and scope in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity.
In the immediate future, we urge European institutions to draft a roadmap for the development of this social pillar that links the completion of the internal market with the gradual implementation of a genuine convergence strategy regarding working conditions, minimum wages, the fight against social dumping, guaranteed minimum income and minimum pensions.. The objective is to provide all Europeans with the right to a decent life, taking into account the differences in the cost of living between Member States, while ensuring sustainable growth and sound management of public accounts.
Priority must be given in law in particular to gender equity in terms of access to employment, as well as equal wages (for equivalent jobs).
We recommend the promotion of the social economy and associative work models, such as collective cooperation, to counteract the negative effects of globalisation.
We propose that the European Globalisation Fund can act preventively, before redundancies and company relocations.
The European pillar of social rights should make concrete proposals in fundamental areas such as support for families and children, promotion of higher birth rates, reconciliation of work, family and personal life, and long-term care for the elderly, especially those who are dependent.
Similarly, proposals should be made in favour of better social inclusion of young workers under 30 years old and older workers over 50 years old in the labour and housing market.
Finally, in keeping with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality, we advocate the participation of Local and Regional Governments in the management of instruments like the European Social Fund and the Youth Guarantee since it is at a sub-state level where active employment policies are applied, including social innovation and equality policies.
European policies undertaken for many years to tackle climate change are among the most ambitious in the world: the European objectives of the 3X20 (-20% of CO2 emissions, +20% of renewable energy production, -20% of energy consumption, all by 2020).
But while the United States has turned its back on the Paris agreements of 2015, Europe must take the initiative again. In this context, the EDP reaffirms its conviction that the transition to a green economy must represent the third industrial revolution,creating millions of jobs in Europe and worldwide, and makes the following recommendations:
The EDP’s second priority is the fight to preserve biodiversity: a European ambition for it to attain the same level of importance as climate change. The EDP would like to ensure full awareness of this situation and would recommend the following:
The EDP, while recognising the added value provided by European agriculture, supports the development of a new sustainable, efficient and productive model of agriculture combining ambitious economic and environmental objectives for the benefit of farmers, consumers, rural communities and the environment.
The EDP would like to see sustainability, innovation, food security in all parts of the Union, competitiveness and tackling climate change as the key drivers of the reform.
Moreover, the budget for the Common Agricultural Policy should be sufficient in order to ensure adequate funding for its objectives and to avoid any possibility of renationalisation in the future.
The EDP supports a Common Agricultural Policy that is fair to all farmers. However, we are aware of the fact that natural conditions, costs of production and general living standards are not the same everywhere in Europe. And this must be taken into account in the redistribution of support. We therefore consider that an EU flat-rate payment system would not fully reflect EU agricultural diversity. The CAP should also reflect the objectives of the European social pillar in the fight against rural poverty and unemployment.
We support the continuous orientation of the Common Agricultural Policy towards the market and not the return to failed policies, insisting that this should not be made at the expense of food security and quality, animal welfare, the environment or undermine farmers’ ability to earn a fair income for the delivery of their products to the market.
The EDP is in favour of a Common Agricultural Policy that promotes a variety of agricultural models and supports a gradual transition towards farming methods that minimize the use of plant protection products and replace them with environmentally friendlier alternatives, ensure high animal welfare standards and increase traceability, ensure sanitary and phytosanitary standards, preserve and restore biodiversity and tackle food waste. These measures should be accompanied by concrete Union targets and indicators, where feasible
We support a future Common Agricultural Policy which emphasises the importance and encourage the development of food quality schemes such as geographical indications, in recognition of the added value provided by European agriculture. EU quality products are part of EU culture and heritage, represent an enormous European asset worldwide and are key to boost rural economies and SMEs
In conclusion on the CAP, the EDP believes that investment in innovation, digitalisation, education and training are vital for the future of European agriculture - to “link what we know to what we grow”.
The Common Fisheries Policy is a key policy for the Union and compliance with all the provisions should be necessary in order to protect our fishermen’s jobs and the marine environment. A properly functioning control system would contribute to the viability of the whole sector; a special attention should be given to the approval of the new protocols on partnership agreements already applied in the fisheries sector . Brexitis likely to have a significant impact on shared fish stocks and market access, which is why a fisheries agreement is a priority.
Creating an integrated system for sustainable mobility, which is efficient for users and within the framework of an internal, open and competitive market for entrepreneurs, is a priority objective for the EDP because:
The EDP’s proposal includes three elements:
L'Union doit influencer son voisinage et le monde en promouvant la paix, la stabilité, la prospérité et la sécurité. Pour obtenir des résultats significatifs, nous avons besoin d'une politique étrangère cohérente et active. Le PDE soutient que l'Union et ses États membres devraient parler d'une seule voix décisive sur les grandes questions du monde actuel . La situation actuelle de politiques faibles ne reflète pas le véritable potentiel de l'Union. Nous devrions réexaminer davantage nos règles internes de prise de décision et d'engagement dans les affaires internationales pour devenir vraiment efficaces et plus respectés, pour transformer l'Union d'une puissance douce en un véritable acteur mondial.
The future European foreign policy should be based on a crucial fact: Europe is not only a continent, not only a political and cultural space, not only an economic space, but above all, Europe is a global tool for conflict resolution. This is how we are perceived throughout the world, and our foreign policy must be inspired by it. We have gone from being a "territory of war", with "hereditary enemies", to a democratic entity of peace and development with a vocation to be a "builder of peace".
Dans le monde, les États-Unis restent notre allié et un interlocuteur important, mais nous devons résoudre par le dialogue et la persuasion les questions actuellement soulevées concernant le commerce et les droits de douane. Par ailleurs, la Russie et son rôle dans le monde ne peuvent être négligés. Il y a des aspects de conflit et des aspects de coopération importante entre l'Union et le gouvernement russe sur lesquels nous devrions continuer à travailler avec détermination. Avec les puissances mondiales émergentes, nos accords commerciaux et notre diplomatie active sont essentiels. À cet égard la politique étrangère commune devrait mettre l'accent sur un véritable partenariat Union européenne – Union africaine.
Nos politiques de voisinage doivent par ailleurs être poursuivies avec plus de vigueur. Nous devons ainsi nous engager plus activement avec nos voisins des Balkans occidentaux. Nous devons les convaincre d'abandonner la rhétorique nationaliste, de respecter les relations de bon voisinage, d'adopter sans réserve des normes démocratiques et de réformer leur économie et leur administration.
The PDE supports the position of the Union of Greek Centrists (ENOSI KENTROON) which demands that the Greek people pronounce by referendum, after the national elections in Greece, on the definitive denomination of the FYROM, since the Greeks were not consulted before the signature of the Prespa Agreement
On the situation in Cyprus, a European solution necessarily implies the withdrawal of the Turkish army and settlers as well as the abolition of the system of guarantees by the powers concerned, a system which in the past has opened the way to military intervention.
Further east, the Ankara government is pursuing an aggressive external and authoritarian internal policy. It should be clear that any form of aggression towards EU member states including Cyprus and Greece or non-member countries such as Syria and Iraq must stop. Turkey must recognize the reality of the Kurdish people and grant them the necessary degree of autonomy.
Notre partenariat oriental est essentiel, en particulier avec les partenaires avec lesquels nous avons signé des accords d'association (par exemple, l'Ukraine, la Géorgie, la Moldavie), mais aussi avec d'autres partenaires qui ont des besoins et des perspectives différentes (par exemple, l'Arménie, l'Azerbaïdjan, la Biélorussie). De même, notre voisinage méridional, qui est plus diversifié, ne peut être négligé. Nous devons trouver des solutions réalistes et sur mesure pour attirer les pays d'Afrique du Nord et les pays arabes près de nous. L'Union devrait continuer à s'engager dans le processus de paix au Moyen-Orient. Les dimensions orientale et méridionale de notre action extérieure doivent être équilibrées.
Elle repose tout d’abord sur la mise en œuvre de Coopération Structurée Permanente (CSP). Cet instrument a été prévu par le traité de Lisbonne qui introduit la possibilité pour un noyau d’États de l’Union européenne de développer leur collaboration dans le domaine de la défense. Il a été activé en 2017 par un large groupe de 25 États membres (à l’exclusion seulement du Royaume-Uni, du Danemark et de Malte). La CSP permet à des États membres de prendre des engagements réciproques relatifs à l’augmentation et la coordination de leurs dépenses de défense, à la participation à des programmes d’armement en coopération européenne et au renforcement des capacités opérationnelles de leurs forces armées. Un deuxième mécanisme a été entre-temps mis en place, le Fonds Européen de Défense afin de financer la recherche dans le domaine militaire (13 milliards d’euros). Et en juin 2018 a été lancée l’Initiative Européenne d’Intervention (IEI) regroupant 9 pays afin de conduire des interventions extérieures conjointes.
In addition it would be appropriate to seek a model for regulating and defending cyber space at the European level. Indeed, cyberspace has become a place of confrontation where offensive actions against the computer systems of States, critical infrastructures or companies of strategic interest have become a daily occurrence and can now absolutely affect our internal defences and security, as well as cause systemic effects on the functioning of our societies. There is no doubt that these attacks will soon become lethal. Thus, the EDP must become a force of proposal so that at the European level an effective criminal response to cybercrime is provided, that a shared culture of computer security is promoted and contribute to a confident and secure digital Europe.
Today, and for some years now, security has been the primary concern of all EU citizens, particularly following the many terrorist attacks on European soil. The terrorist threat is constantly and rapidly evolving. It is a polymorphous threat, endogenous and exogenous. It is also a multi-faceted terrorist threat, since there is a multitude of "terrorism": so-called "Islamist" terrorism, but also far-right and far-left terrorism. If we want to fight effectively against this threat, which affects our European values, we must provide effective, multiple and coordinated responses!
The terrorist threat concerns us all: it affects the whole of the Union, because terrorists very easily cross material and immaterial borders! It is therefore essential that the responses be European, so that our Union can build a genuine area of freedom, security and justice.
Our recommendations are as follows:
Europe is facing one of the greatest migration challenges since the Second World War. The causes are well known: changing geostrategic interests, armed conflicts, dictatorships, human rights violations, poor governance, environmental deterioration, climate change and endemic poverty. The measures adopted in recent years have been unilateral in nature and have produced few results at great cost. These are specific measures which have shown that the effects of immigration cannot be dealt with in isolation. The migration phenomenon requires a comprehensive and integrated approach that addresses the challenges while exploiting the benefits of immigration. The local and regional levels must be integrated into the decision-making processes. Regions and local authorities are indeed close to the potential problems, needs and the real situation of the labour market. This knowledge is a key element in humanising migration policy.
This new and comprehensive approach to the MP should be based on the following axes:
We need to rebuild Schengen. The EDP supports the establishment of common standards for controls at the Union's external borders and the setting up of an integrated system for monitoring these borders. Search and rescue programmes on the high seas and the fight against criminal networks that traffic in human beings must be carried out in a coordinated manner, and Frontex's actions through Eurosur (European coastal surveillance system) must be intensified, enabling Member States to share images and data on the situation at the external borders in real time.
Prevention at source is fundamental to curb the massive arrival of immigrants on European shores. This cooperation must take place in various areas to manage migratory flows in order to guarantee peace and security, promote democratic consolidation and stimulate economic growth beyond development aid. The new Migration Partnership Framework Programme approved by the Union in July 2016 was evaluated favourably in September 2017, therefore we propose to take this programme forward, deepen its implementation in priority countries and extend it to more countries. With regard to the deployment of experts in countries of origin and transit, the Union maintains military and civilian training and democratic support missions in several countries, which should be expanded and deepened. Finally, we support awareness-raising and the dissemination of accurate information in the countries of origin on the risks and costs of crossing and staying in Europe illegally, relying on the emigrants themselves who have lived through these terrible experiences.
About 90% of the migrants who reach European shores do so through local mafias linked to the various organised crime organisations in the world involved in trafficking in human beings, drug trafficking or money laundering. It is therefore necessary to consider a comprehensive, multidisciplinary and cross-border approach, strengthening operational co-operation to investigate, prosecute and punish these activities, monitor their financial flows and use technological advances to detect document fraud, intensify the mechanisms foreseen in the Action Plan against Trafficking in Migrants as well as in the Eurojust framework on migrant smuggling in order to identify obstacles in the field of prosecution and judicial co-operation.
An effective, people-centred return policy is a key deterrent to illegal immigration, both for immigrants and for mafias and international criminal organisations. At present, the return policy is not fully effective and the traffickers know it. It is therefore necessary to improve these mechanisms, which are applied by the Member States in a very disparate manner. Let us start by stepping up operational cooperation and the exchange of best practices between Member States, EU agencies and migrants' countries of origin. Member States should make greater use of the potential of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency by giving it the right to repatriate rescued immigrants to ports in safe countries, as well as the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund to support return activities. To this end, Frontex's human resources should be increased, as the target of 10 000 members by 2027 is too distant a goal. It is also essential to establish a clear legal distinction between the responsibilities and rights of humanitarian NGOs, European agencies and Member State authorities.
The refugee crisis has shown that the current system is inadequate to meet needs. Asylum seekers are not treated in a uniform manner across Member States. This encourages secondary movements, "asylum on demand", abuse of the asylum system and the lodging of applications in several countries already saturated by the current migratory pressure, which has led some of them to reintroduce internal border controls. There is a need to review the asylum rules to ensure that responsibilities are shared and that no country is under more migratory pressure to provide better conditions. The reform would make the asylum system more efficient, allowing for a better fight against abuse. The revision of the system should lead to greater homogeneity in asylum procedures, in the conditions for obtaining international protection and in reception conditions. The reform of the Dublin Regulation, a key element of the common asylum system, must be carried out because it determines which country is responsible.