Jean-Marc Ayrault and Sigmar Gabriel: "A strong European Union for a good future"
The White Paper of the European Commission, consistent with the “State of the European Union” speech by President Juncker on 14 September 2016 is an important and valuable contribution to the broader discussion on the future of Europe, its project and its functioning, in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the Rome treaties on March 25. It directly echoes the dynamics that have been launched since Bratislava and that was continued in Valetta, which aimed at reaching clear and concrete results to the benefit of European citizens.
As threats are growing, both internally and externally, Germany and France share the same conviction: our best protection and our best asset for the future is a stronger European Union.
We must further concentrate the EU’s activities on today’s main challenges : strengthening the EU’s role as a foreign policy actor in the neighborhood and on the global scale ; ensuring the security of our citizens in the face of growing external and internal threats including through EU’s defense policy ; establishing a stable and cooperative framework to deal with migration and refugee flows ; boost the European economy through promoting the convergence of our economies and European oriented investment while reinforcing the European social market economy, a sustainable and job-creating growth and advancing towards the completion of the European Monetary Union.
Given the huge challenges Europe is facing, we are firmly convinced that we should not scale back our ambition regarding the European project. The EU is much more than a single market. It is based on a fundament of common values, solidarity and the rule of law. We recognize that today’s challenges require a better European Union. Sharing these convictions gives us a historical responsibility to constantly improve the functioning of our Union and the protection of our common values and principles. The Commission’s options to foster new ways to act more efficiently will be very useful in this perspective. While not stepping back from what we have achieved, we also have to find better ways of dealing with different levels of ambition amongst Member States so as to ensure that Europe delivers better on the expectations of all European citizens.
The Rome Summit on March 25 will be a unique opportunity to give a new impetus to the EU by addressing the challenges ahead. Both Germany and France are deeply committed to the success of this process.