Support for the European Union has been Emmanuel Macron’s trademark policy ever since he first came to power in 2017. The French president believes in the EU. Freshly re-elected, he now has five more years to pursue his goal of close cooperation between member states.
With Paris still holding the six-month presidency of the EU, Emmanuel Macron will be able to push his political agenda in reaction to the crises that face the 27.
EU leaders will meet on 30 and 31 May for an extraordinary summit on European defence and the war in Ukraine. Emmanuel Macron intends to put forward the concept of "European strategic autonomy": enabling the 27 to take their own decisions, without having to depend on allies. In the eyes of the French head of state, this implies the development of both industrial and deployment capabilities.
This would require an increase in European funds dedicated to military expenditure, coupled with an improvement in coordination between the 27.
The energy issue now seems to be inseparable from the war in Ukraine. To reduce European dependence on Russian oil and gas, Paris wants to accelerate the decarbonisation of European society. The French president wants to deploy clean energy more quickly and ensure that investment continues in nuclear power as part of the European energy mix.
To address rising energy prices, Emmanuel Macron is also expected to push for an overhaul of the rules that set electricity prices. This reform could involve removing the link between the price of gas and electricity.
Tackling climate change is one of the priorities of France’s Presidency of the European Union. The French president supports the idea of a carbon tax on the EU's borders in order to avoid unfair competition. An adjustment mechanism that takes into account the carbon impact of imports is currently being negotiated between the EU institutions. Under French, leadership, the 27 finance ministers reached agreement on such a mechanism in March. A compromise will now have to be found with the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Emmanuel Macron wants to reform Europe’s Schengen area, the zone within which there’s free movement of people. This would involve strengthening Europe’s external borders. The French president also wants to set up a Schengen steering committee with more frequent meetings between involved ministers. Paris also wants to create an "emergency support mechanism" to be able to provide concrete help when there’s a crisis.
During his second term, the French president wants to continue his drive for digital autonomy within the European Union. The aim is to release sufficient funds to create European champions capable of competing internationally.
In Emmanuel Macron's eyes, digital autonomy is also a security issue: it’s needed in order to protect strategic domains and infrastructures. The French head of state favours the establishment of a "European cloud". Paris also intends to support the deployment of a constellation of telecommunications satellites. These low-earth orbit devices would put an end to the existence of unconnected communication “dead” zones, as well as ensuring the security of networks.