Few other big European countries are quite as dedicated as France to deepening the European integration. The country has been spearheading these efforts ever since the establishment of the European community and, as far as the agenda points are concerned, this French presidency is no exception. People who are concerned about Europe and willing to do something for it clearly understand that the European Union is currently such a fragmented community that is unable to utilize its potential, both externally and internally. While the EU is marred by constant rule-of-law disputes to the point where certain western politicians would rather create a two-speed Europe just to “escape from” the eastern autocrats, Viktor Orbán and some other politicians are getting busy undermining Europe’s integrity.
Due to the internal disputes and the difficulties of unanimous decision-making, Europe is simply unable to have a say in geopolitical events appropriately to its real weight.
That’s why so many people are keeping an eye out for the French presidency in the hope that the sovereignty agenda becomes more than just words written on paper. Will we be able to stand up for the rule of law, break the momentum of the eastern autocrats and make them respect our common values?
Will we be able to reinforce the common European foreign policy, primarily by stepping away from the unanimous decision-making process that has been increasingly abused by Europe’s political “trolls”?
As a European citizen and MEP, I hope Paris will find the appropriate answers to the challenges, not least because Emmanuel Macron’s presidential campaign may greatly depend on him being able to show force and act accordingly. As far as the struggle against autocrats is concerned, I think it’s important to note that the outcome of the upcoming Hungarian elections may also depend on whether Viktor Orbán, who is going to visit Russian President Vladimir Putin right in the middle of the campaign, is met with compassion or rejection in Europe.
There’s one thing we can safely state: the situation can’t be kept up like this much longer.
Europe mustn’t remain a divergent community and fall victim to its own indecisiveness. I hope the next six months will answer many of these questions.