What is the weight of Europe on the international stage ?

the 03 July 2017 – Anne MOREAUX – Right

© Council of State Valery Giscard d’estaing delivers his analysis of the strategic, surrounded by Jean-Marc Sauvé, and Hubert Védrine.

The State Council has had the honour to welcome president Valéry Giscard d’estaing to the closing conference of the cycle of talks on Europe devoted to the future of the european Union in the light of the challenges it is facing. The interventions of the vice-president of the Council of State, Jean-Marc Sauvé, former minister of foreign Affairs, Hubert Védrine, and former secretary general of the european service for external action, Alain Le Roy, have painted a portrait of quite contrasting to the power of Europe in the world.

“Force and coercion are not the only criteria to impose its power,” said Jean-Marc Sauvé, in introducing the debate. Indeed, the european Union has been able to impose itself by the law and the defense of fundamental freedoms. If she has no political weight explicit and does not represent a military power, Europe is not for all that devoid of force, diplomatic and economic. It is ” defined as a power of information “, according to the vice-president of the Council of State.

The eleven lectures of the cycle, launched in the past two years, have confirmed this fact by discussing the three questions fundamental european : its architecture, its policies and its identity. For the closing conference, the State Council has brought together actors and witnesses of the news that is shaking the european construction. They delivered their vision of the weight of the Union in the world, through the prism of the dialogue of the judges, of european diplomacy and policy analysis, and strategic future of Europe.

Alain Le Roy, former secretary general of the european service for external action, Jean-Marc Sauvé, vice-president of the Council of State, Valéry Giscard d’estaing, former president of the Republic, and Huber Vedrine, former minister of foreign Affairs have delivered their vision of the weight of Europe in the world © Council of State.

A power legal

The european Union is weighing on the international stage by the law and not by force, began by explaining Jean-Marc Sauvé.

Indeed, the former minister of foreign affairs Hubert Védrine believes it has “legal weight” undeniable “.

It is a real influence in the world, even if it is singular. Europe is based on the research of a shared commitment, interdependency between States, but especially on the establishment of peace and the defense of fundamental freedoms. Moreover, the primacy of european law over domestic law was enshrined as early as the 1960s.

The european Union has also received the Nobel peace Prize in 2012 for his action in favour of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights. It surrounded itself, in particular the success of the operations in the Balkans and in the gulf of Aden off Somalia.

Alain Le Roy, former secretary general of the european service for external action, has spoken of the need to harmonise the case-law on the right to asylum. The expert wants to develop the idea of partnership with african countries to try to have a control and a balanced share of migration flows.

Jean-Marc Sauvé noted that “the Eu is inherently based on the law” and that its external action is doubly normative because it is based on the law and model european regimes with the right.

In addition, the right of the Union has, because of its economic clout, an influence that extends beyond the european territory, and especially its active policy of combating climate change and its trade policy. “The right of the EU to highlight a concrete impact on competitive practices and trade, even in the United States “, stressed the vice-president of the Council of State, citing for example the fines “mega-buck” of the CJEU against the companies Intel and Microsoft.

An economic power

All stakeholders, and in particular Valéry Giscard d’estaing, underlined the economic weight in the world of Europe : the first world’s GDP ; 500 million consumers ; leading importer and exporter ; and the first investor and first receiver of investment in the world. What makes it a “very important set that is located as the first economic zone in the world,” according to the former President.

The european Union is more necessary than ever to face the new challenges of globalization. It has become a major player in the regulation of the global economy particularly in international trade negotiations, competition law, allowing to defend the vital interests of the States, and embody a vision of europe.

The Union also plays an essential role in development assistance and in the search for a new, more balanced growth model, in order to implement the indispensable energy transition and achieving a social market economy, combining the demands of competitiveness, with a high level of solidarity.

Often under-estimated, the european Union provides 23.8% of global GDP with only 7% of the population of the globe, which makes it the first commercial entity in the world ahead of the United States (22.2 per cent) and China (13.4 per cent).

“After you have achieved the peace, we look to the economic power ! Create by 2025, on european soil, an economic power in the world, Europa, ” said Valéry Giscard d’estaing. After the single currency, there should be a fiscal union, according to the former president, ” to tax equal incomes, corporations, people, and heritage “. This new european project ” could aim to become the power‐leader in the production and development of sustainable, innovation and quality of life “.

Power of “poorly governed”

Valéry Giscard d’estaing believes that ” the EU has no policy of his size “, and it can only have that if she changes her goal. The latter was described as “poorly governed” so that it faces a political landscape and diplomatic changing in depth. And, at both the international, with Donald Trump at the head of the United States, the rise of China and India, than in Europe with “shaking hard” as the Brexit, the closure of the borders of Sweden, the new power in Finland and the election of Emmanuel Macron.

The ambassador and former secretary general of the european service for external action, Alain Le Roy, has quoted the lines spoken by Angela Merkel and Aléxis Tsipras on the momentum that crosses the EU in terms of power. Indeed, the German Chancellor described the recent meetings of the G7 and NATO in may of last year “horrible” and ” catastrophic “, and believes that the Europeans can no longer rely only on themselves. By referring to the behavior of Donald Trump and other heads of State, deplored the fact that the discussions were ” very dissatisfied “.

Michel Barnier, former european commissioner, chief negotiator for the Brexit, which had conducted the tenth conference of the cycle entitled ” Can one speak of a european democracy ? “, was present for the closing.

Hubert Védrine emphasized the rise of China, India, Japan and Russia, which are in the process of creating a new international order that is no longer led by the west but by the East. It is even said to be ” concerned by the idealism of european beautiful and the reality of the world is a Jurassic park much more brutal “. His approach is ” more realistic “, a tad pessimistic, don’t imagine a bright future for Europe. He expects the same ” in a world semi-volatile, semi-chaotic, no one’s control “.

The latter does not believe that the ambition of extraterritorial EU to be viable “, and don’t think she has today to influence policy worldwide net despite a core of strong base (strong economy, high influence, legal, and social since the colonization…). He said he was “half satisfied with the state of things but wants to go further” in imposing political power. He is joined by stakeholders, including Valéry Giscard d’estaing who believes that ” the Union must reinvent itself “.

And this, with a vision of the future is clear, either around an integration project the image of Europe initial outcome of the treaty of Rome, launched by the couple Monnet-Schuman, or around a commercial project flexible free-trade, such as the one built since the 1960s around the United Kingdom. The erring ways of governance of Europe from a historic error of judgment, for this ex-president who was involved in the drafting of the treaty of Lisbon. “The mistake was not to admit that the proponents of this second project would be based not in the mold of the integration project ! “

However, Valéry Giscard d’estaing concluded its discussion on a positive note by stating his belief that the beautiful franco-German cooperation that is emerging between the German Chancellor and the new French president will be capable to ” build the economic power of the world of tomorrow “.

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