Content of the letter
Emmanuel Macron is a gifted letter writer – this time not as a concerned family man addressing all French people under pressure from the Yellow Vest, but as a visionary who alarms the citizens of Europe, the elections to the European Union To take Parliament seriously from 23-26 May as a decision “on the future of our continent.” In the letter, which appeared in a prestigious newspaper of the 28 EU member states on 5 March, he cites three ambitious goals for a new beginning of Europe – defend our freedom, protect our continent, return to the spirit of progress.
- Defending human freedom: To protect the democratic freedom of choice against hacking and manipulation, Macron proposes a European “agency for the protection of democracy.” In addition, the financing of the parties by foreign powers is to be banned, hate and violence comments are to be banned from the Internet.
Protecting the continent: Strong interest in open borders of member countries has lost sight of reality outside the EU, Macron writes. A sense of belonging to a community can only arise if the community is protected by borders. “A border means freedom in safety.” Therefore, the Schengen area must be redefined for all those who belong to it – through strict border controls, a common asylum policy with uniform rules of recognition and rejection, a common border police force and a European asylum authority “under Supervision of a European Council for Internal Security. " Macron believes “in the face of migration in a Europe that protects its values and its borders.” The protection of citizens places equal demands on defence, “our indispensable obligations in a treaty on defence and security – in line with NATO and our European allies; Increased military spending, mutual defence, European Security Council involving Britain. “Our borders must also ensure fair competition.” Trading with those who do not abide by the rules that apply within the Community is unacceptable without responding to them. That is why our competition policy needs to be reformed and our trade policy realigned. Companies that undermine our strategic interests and our essential values (environmental standards, data protection and taxes adequately) in the EU must be prohibited. On the other hand, European companies must be given preferential treatment for public contracts and in strategic industries, as our competitors in the US and China do.
Return to the spirit of progress: Europe is not a secondary power, but as a whole is playing a pioneering role; “It has always set the standard for progress.” Europe, in which social security was introduced, must offer workers something that serves cooperation rather than competition: “Basic social security,” “equal pay in the same workplace,” a “Europe-wide Minimum wage, “which is adapted to each member country and renegotiated jointly annually. Linked to the idea of progress is the mandate to put itself at the forefront of the fight for our environment, to reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2015, to halve the use of pesticides by 2015. A “European Climate Bank” should finance ecological change, a “European control body” will more effectively protect the protection of our food; Substances that endanger the environment and health should be subject to a scientific assessment that is independent and protected against threatening lobbying. The imperative to protect the climate must be the goal of all our institutions, “from the central bank to the European Commission, from the EU budget to the Investment Plan for Europe.” “Progress and freedom, that means being able to live off his work.” In order to create jobs, Europe must plan ahead: To regulate Internet giants by monitoring the major platforms in a European way (punishing breaches of competition rules, creating transparency of algorithms). Europe must also “fund innovation by enddrawing the new European Innovation Council with a budget comparable to that in the US to put itself at the forefront of new technological upheavals such as artificial intelligence.” A cosmopolitan Europe must forge a pact for the future with Africa by recognising the common destiny and not supporting its development in a cautious but ambitious way – through investment, university partnerships, school teaching for girls. On these three pillars – freedom, protection and progress – “our new beginning in Europe must rest.” Macron appeals to the addressees of his letter: In a Europe that – though not always in lockstep –, we must “not carry on as before and confine ourselves to incantation.” “We must not be sleepwalkers in a sleepy Europe.” That is why, before the end of 2019, we should “set up a European Conference to propose all the changes necessary for our political project,” without taboos, even that of a revision of the Treaties. The conference, which involves citizens ' committees, social partners and representatives of religions, will “set out a roadmap for the European Union by translating key priorities into concrete action.” In the coming general election, the letter’s addressees decide “whether Europe and the values of progress it espouses should be more than an interlude in history.”
Evaluation of the letter
Has the French President tired of dealing with the Yellow-West movement after he was prepared to make some concessions, but continues to protest against him and his economic and social policies? After swinging the World Economic Forum in Davos and the Munich Security Conference, how currently every second Frenchman, does he doubt the success of the nationwide “great dialogue” he staged during two months? Or is he launching a Europe-wide election campaign for the EU Parliament from France after current polls reported a head-to-head race between the “La République en marche” movement and the Rassemblement National? Does campaign mode explain the offensive tone of the appeal to the barely there European public?
Attentive readers are arguably heavily impressed by how a prominent “lonely” author Emmanuel Macron, not as French president in an emotionally charged, dramatic letter, calls on imaginary addressees to participate in a choice of fate, Who, in his opinion, will decide the future of Europe, the continent, the European Union and its institutions. After all, he has abandoned the notorious fixation with Germany and Angela Merkel. However, I find it strange that he does not address his proposals to the relevant institutions, the European Council, the Commission, Parliament and the Council of Ministers, as well as the Member States of the EU or the European Central Bank. Instead, it delivers the addressees to a linguistically inclusive pull of “we” (25 times), a “us”/“our” (43 times) and the categorical “may not,” “must.” Also with the question of the scope of his proposals, the author remains dazzling: Four times he mentions the “continent,” whose borders, as we know, blur against the East; He calls the geographical unit “Europe” 25 times, which, like the Schengen area, goes beyond the legal entity of the EU, which he specifies eight times abbreviated or advertised. But their parliament alone is at stake in the forthcoming elections, under the concrete conditions of the relationship between the central level and the level of the 27 sovereign Member States. Macron originally planned to place candidates from “La République en marche” in cross-border lists, but in the upcoming election, La République en marche, whose leading candidate he has not yet appointed, will become one of the existing or Inserting forming alliances, presumably the movement will end up with Liberal MPs.
The repeated evocation of the so-called European values and the context in which they are placed is disturbing. Values are as subjective and diverse as there are people who personally think something is valuable. While there are also shared, collective notions of successful living shared in particulate communities. Such shared beliefs, lifestyles, mentalities, habits, traditions or legal views are easier at local, regional, and probably also at national level.
Identify and delineate. It may be that Macron means by values the rights codified in the EU’s treaties. But when reading the letter, the context in which he places the so-called “values” is strange: He writes his letter “in the name of history and the values that unite us”; The upcoming election will determine “whether Europe and the values of progress it represents” will be more than a historical interlude; “Companies that undermine our strategic interests and our essential values” are to be penalised; The context of border security – Macron believes “in the face of migration to a Europe that protects both its values and its borders” seems to me to be of particular concern; A market must not “forget the need for protective borders and unifying values.” In addition to the values, other plastic words can be found in the letter: Our “culture of dignity”; “European civilization that unites us, frees us up and protects us”; Our continent is at a crossroads “where together, politically and culturally, we must reinvent the shaping of our civilization in a changing world.” A speech bubble that is hard to beat, Macron conjures eight times: “Progress,” the “spirit of progress,” the “idea of progress,” “values of progress,” Europe’s “standards for progress,” “progress and freedom.”
What I find disturbing is the tenacity with which Macron uses the word field “protection” (eight times), “protect” (nine times), “security” (four times). Who should protect EU citizens from whom or against whom? Personal protection is something other than property or institutional protection, such as an “Agency for the Protection of Democracy” against hacker attacks. The subliminal desire for security, a security policy derived from it, is usually a preventative response to perceived threats, a hysterical phase between the last shot in collective memory and the first shot that Is expected. Christa Wolf calls this phase the “pre-war.” Such threat scenarios paint Macron out several times: “Brexit is a trap that threatens Europe”; The scientific assessment of substances that endanger the environment and health must be protected “from the threat of lobbying”; They are “foreign powers” that seek to influence our voting behaviour in every election; European political parties are funded “by foreign powers.” The menacing enemy images also explain Macron’s frantically driven catch-up “towards our competitors in the US and China”; We need to “reform our competition policy, reorient our trade policy.” Macron appears to have erased the failed megalomania from his memory that the EU entered into the Lisbon Treaty in 2000, namely, within a decade, “the Union is the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in To make the world. " Into such geopolitically ambitious alarmism fits Macron’s key size of a common European defense, an increase in military spending, a treaty on defense and security, a clause on mutual reciprocal Defence assistance when the territory of an EU member is attacked, as well as a joint intervention force for Africa, which he has been constantly promoting since his speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, and also in the new Élysée Treaty in Aachen together with Angela. Merkel has anchored.
The military-geopolitical dimension of a sovereign EU, which cannot be imposed by other major powers, while peace-keeping and democratic characteristics fade into the background, provides the framework for a partly quasi-ethical, Part of Macron’s obsessive insistence on securing the EU’s external borders, which I believe is aimed solely or at least absolutely primarily at the defence against refugees who have escaped belligerent violence or economic deprivation and in the EU suspect the chance of a successful life. The word field that indexes the protection of European citizens is merely an alibi of the failure of the EU’s political elites to trust more in the market traditional dogma of the internal market and monetary union in favour of corporations and financial actors than of the objective. The alignment of different living conditions and solidarity among Member States, as required by the EU Treaties. Even the metaphysic-sounding remark that a border means “freedom in safety” is covered by Macron’s quasi-religious commitment to a Europe that, in the face of migration, “protects its borders” because of a sense of belonging to a Community can only arise “if these have limits that protect them.” A “common border police,” a “European asylum authority,” “common asylum policy” “strict control conditions” under the “supervision of a European Council for Internal Security” are the institutional and operational instruments, inclusion and exclusion, Set the inside and outside by those who are inside. Fundamental rights apply only subordinate to national and European selection power. A cosmopolitan Europe, which is turning to Africa because of a common destiny “with which we must forge a pact for the future,” has launched the first attempts at change of year under the whitewash of a “migration partnership.” Comfortable financial aid has so far been granted, and continues under imperial conditions of post-colonial asymmetry, in the expectation and at the price that Western and East African countries install interceptor camps and biometric border controls in order to further To prevent escape movements towards the EU as much as possible.
Emmanuel Macron’s letter is addressed directly to the imaginary construct of citizens who are simultaneously members of a nation state and the European Union. They are fooled by a European public that exists only virtually. The national decision-makers and the institutional bodies of the European Union are probably only covered up among the recipients of the letter. This may give the impression that Macron’s proposals for a new beginning or a new beginning (no longer a “re-establishment”) are, at least indirectly, addressed to the central institutions of the European Union: The parliament, which will be re-elected in May, Commission, the Council of Ministers and the European Council. Indeed, the functional and structural location of the components of a new European beginning, as Macron outlines them, dominates at the supranational level –, both economically and politically. I believe that the resistance and the reserved reaction, which are already being observed, are justified in part. Business circles are critical of the defence against unpleasant investors and the punishment and prohibition of non-European companies that undermine European interests and values, as well as preferential treatment granted on public contracts. European companies in strategic industries. Economists are weathering protectionist tendencies and, in particular, industrial and fiscal preferences in favour of national champions and megabanks, which, while benevolent in Berlin’s Ministry of Economy and Finance, are supported by regulatory policy. Proponents of fair market competition under the supervision of the antitrust office, which is opposed to dominant and monopolistic corporations, are strongly opposed. Macron’s new European agencies for reducing CO2 and pesticides (having just conceded a reduction in gasoline tax on the French yellow vests), the climate bank, the construction of a Control facility for food protection, scientific assessment of environmental and health risks, the Innovation Council for Technical Development and Artificial Intelligence, and the monitoring of large Internet platforms. Comparable political concerns about Macron’s centralist ambition are registered from nation-state perspectives: Redefining the Schengen area requires a national renunciation of sovereignty that exceeds the EU’s reach. The proposed centralisation of EU agencies – border police; Asylum authority; Security Council; Defence and Security Council; European conference including a revision of the Treaties; European-African future pact – cannot be implemented without the consent of sovereign EU Member States anyway.
The outlines of reservations about the visions of the lone prophet Macron should not discourage, but only on it, the high appeal that a united, democratic and sovereign European Union could exert in a plural world, both externally and internally. It is sufficient to hurl a millstone into a lake that shakes up the water and makes huge waves, but immediately sinks into the lake, while the lake appears mirror-smooth after a short time. Leonardo da Vinci has said: “Spit your cart on a star.” Max Weber put it similarly: “If you don’t reach for the stars, you can’t take the next steps.” Does Macron like himself in the role of star? Those who are called to pay attention to the next steps, however, are obliged to take them, focusing on such stars that provide verifiable orientation.
The European Union remains a kind of hiking construction site, unique in the world, a two-level entity, a “double democracy” with a swinging architecture.