I would like our partnership with Africa to be an aspect of the overhaul of the European project. Development aid needs to be increased. I have committed to that, for France, and we will increase it each time, year after year. We will also do it better, because sums alone do not make a policy, and on this subject we are often obsessed with symbols. And we tend to think that a development policy boils down to figures. We will work better with civil society.
But this official development aid also needs to be European, with renewed ambition, and as such I am prepared, I wish, to relaunch on new foundations the project for a European financial transaction tax, in order to finance this policy.
We know the debate off by heart. Why do these initiatives always end in failure? Because the technical arrangements we eventually choose penalize one country rather than another. So I have a simple proposal. There are two countries in Europe which have a tax on financial transactions. There is France, and I say that with all the more humility because it is one of my predecessors who established it. So let’s take this tax, and generalize it across Europe, and I am prepared, even willing to give all its receipts to European official development aid.
But there is another country that also has a financial transaction tax: the United Kingdom, which long before us had what is known as stamp duty. Some fear unfair competition because, indeed, if we put in place a financial transaction tax that is excessive — something that was envisaged by certain predecessors for others — and damages our very ability to create economic activity, that is unsustainable. But if we decide, collectively, to adopt the British tax, nobody will be able to say that it creates disturbance or distortion of the European Union’s competitiveness. No! So we should choose one or the other of these simple systems, with a wide base, but at last, do it! In any case, I will be doing my utmost.
You have understood that the third key to our sovereignty is this foreign policy, this partnership with Africa, this development policy that must guide us in founding a farreaching project based on mutual investment, education, health and energy. If Europe fails to seize this opportunity, others will and if nothing is done, Europe alone will face all of the consequences.
The fourth key to our sovereignty is being able to address the first of the major global transformations, the ecological transition. This total transformation is revolutionizing the way we produce, redistribute and behave. Today Europe is in a period in between, but our choice is simple: do we want to continue producing as we have in the past, and defend a competitiveness against powers that are making this choice or have already done so, or do we wish to push forward and become leaders of a new production model that will not only be a model for the economy, but also a model for society and civilization, enabling a fresh perspective on inequalities and externalities of a society whose main victims of imbalances are the weakest and most vulnerable?