Paris and Berlin jointly called for a “Conference on the Future of Europe” by 2022 on Wednesday; the proposal echoes a European Commission proposal for a 2020-2022 conference.
In a joint two-page statement the Franco-German axis called for and EU that is “more united and sovereign” in order to address a range of challenges, not least economic competition and security threats.
The paper calls for a pulling together of resources in digitalisation, climate change, migration, the fight against inequality, and the rule of law.
“Any changes in how the union works agreed by member states, in consultation with the EU institutions, outside experts and civil society could lead to a treaty changes,” the document says.
The statement also calls for a bottom-up process of policy consultations, especially following the Brexit experience.
These Franco-German proposals are to be presented to the European Council for debate on December 12. If the reform outline is approved by European leaders, a reform secretariat could be set up, RFI reports.
However, this does not mean the two historical partners do not have deep disagreements over the future of Europe. Emmanuel Macron campaigned on a promise to advance an agenda of economic and political consolidation of the eurozone, to which Germany and the Netherlands have resisted fiercely. Now Macron has called NATO “brain dead” and France is calling for an overhaul of the enlargement process, positions that collide with Berlin.
For the moment, the political initiative rests with Berlin, as Germany assumes the Presidency of the European Council in the second half of 2020.