Macron holds opening speech of French EU presidency – video

Macron holds opening speech of French EU presidency – video

In the life of Europe a new era has begun, the French president has said. In his speech kicking off France's EU presidency, Emmanuel Macron promised to place emphasis peace, progress and democracy.


France will hold the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union until 30 June 2022. In his opening speech delivered to the he European Parliament in Strasbourg, Emmanuel Macron outlined his plans for the future of Europe.

Mr Macron began his speech by saying that the battles Europe must fight would be to protect democracy and promote sovereignty of the peoples and the rule of law. He added that the French presidency of the EU would aim to promote European values.

The French president voiced his opinion that recent years have shown signs of a return to authoritarian regimes. Mr Macron said the trend was undermining the foundations of the history of the peoples of Europe, adding that this return would also mean the end of the rule of law. According to the France Bleu news portal, the French politician clearly referred to Russia by that.

Emmanuel Macron also announced a series of economic measures to protect European workers. He said ensuring a decent minimum wage and equal rights for all would be a central goal of the French presidency, with a draft bill to be submitted in the next six months. The president said he wanted to make Europe a powerhouse of culture, education and democracy. The French presidency will also aim to reduce the pay gap between women and men and to combat all forms of discrimination, Le Figaro writes.

Mr Macron then announced plans to update the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to include environmental protection and the right to abortion, but this was strongly opposed by the newly elected president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, whose country of origin, Malta, has made abortion completely illegal, reports France Info.

The French president also spoke about what he called the European Digital Model, a project to protect citizens, ensure democratic debate and limit the influence of US tech giants collectively referred to as ‘GAFAM’ (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft).

Mr Macron also spoke about the reform of the Schengen area, saying he wants to regain control of the EU’s borders and build partnerships with migrants’ countries of origin and transit. He aims to develop a more effective policy that respects the principles of the fight against illegal immigration.

In terms of peace, Mr Macron said that a summit will be held in February to rebuild the partnership with the African continent. A new economic and financial agreement is planned to boost cooperation between the two continents. The French president also stressed the importance of strengthening the cultural, scientific and economic alliance between Africa and Europe.




emmanuel macron, eu presidency, European Union, france