And I am shouldering and will continue to shoulder France’s responsibility, because it is in the interests of France and Europe, but we also need common rules and instruments. We need convergence and stability through national reforms, but also by coordinating our economic policies and a common budget. If we want to reduce our differences and develop our common goods — everything I have just mentioned, security, protection in the context of migration, digital transition, ecological transition, a genuine development and partnership policy — these common goods, foremost among which is our currency, must be financed. And we therefore need more investment, we need the means to provide stability in the face of economic shocks, as no state can tackle an economic crisis alone when it no longer controls its monetary policy. So for all these reasons, yes we need a stronger budget within Europe, at the heart of the eurozone.
This budget’s resources must reflect its ambition. European taxes in the digital or environmental fields could thus form a genuine European resource to fund common expenditure. And beyond that, we must discuss partly allocating at least one tax to this budget, such as corporation tax once it has been harmonized.
The solidarity required for a budget must be combined with increased responsibility, which starts by observing the rules we have set ourselves and implementing essential reforms.
A budget must be placed under the strong political guidance of a common minister and be subject to strict parliamentary control at European level. Only the eurozone with a strong and international currency can provide Europe with the framework of a major economic power.
So let’s look at the issue the right way round: if the euro is to become the currency of all EU member states once they meet the criteria, we must quickly create a strong, efficient, inclusive eurozone, and this strength will benefit all who join it in the future.
The real issue here is unity. European unity — forged through FrancoGerman reconciliation and the reunification of Eastern and Western Europe — is our greatest success and most precious asset. In addition to these six battles for sovereignty, it is the battle for unity I want to lead. We will never have a strong, sovereign Europe if it is not united and coherent in itself. If we lose this unity, we risk falling back into our deadly divisions and destructive hegemony. Our challenge is to remain united without chasing uniformity.
Europe’s 28 nember states cannot operate like the original six-member bloc. Our project, the future of our peoples cannot be based on the lowest common denominator. If we are to cultivate the desire to push ahead and ensure Europe’s progress benefits everyone, we need to constantly accommodate the driving ambition of some while allowing others to move ahead at their own speed. Solidarity and culture are the cement that will bind us together and keep us from fearing the progress of the precursors. I would like to stress the idea of solidarity, because while we have talked at length over the past ten years about responsibility in Europe, we have neglected the solidarity between us.