En Marche, President Macron! Seven reasons to move from words to action
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1. France and Europe are still troubled by political extremism and populism
And also by a growing hostility towards traditional institutions. Traditional political parties and politicians were and are afraid to address the problems which worry people the most. The reason for it is that their resolution is usually painful. Some leaders are afraid that embracing such solutions would cost them voters’ support. However, the failure to address those problems strengthens the extremists, and standard politicians lose ground anyway. It is imperative to break this vicious circle. This can only be achieved through undertaking concrete actions, and delivering concrete results.
2. France suffers from massive youth unemployment, but also from illegal immigration
Whereas, when addressing economic problems, the President needs the involvement of parliament (key reforms have generally the form of laws), this is much less the case in the area of security. The President can act with a relatively high degree of autonomy, regardless of the outcome of the June parliamentary elections and the September elections for the Senate.
3. Immigration from Africa is mainly Europe’s problem
Europe will have to deal with massive migration waves of people from Africa; they are heading mainly towards Europe, and will continue do so also in the future. Allegedly, 30% of inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa are considering emigration already now.
4. The EU struggles with internal divisions
Due primarily, but not only, to the divergence of approaches of individual countries to the issue of migration. A reinforced franco-german axis will be capital to refuel the engine of European integration
5. The EU has been psychologically impacted by the UK’s exit from the Union
Unity, prudence, and European leadership will be essential in the tough negotiation process ahead.
6. The transatlantic partnership is and will be essential for the global order
The EU must take concrete steps to convince the United States that it has the capability to become and actually stand in the future as a proactive partner of the US in the transatlantic alliance, irrespective of who is the president of the United States.
7. The world, and Europe in particular, must address the alarming humanitarian situation in Libya and Syria
Libya has become not only a funnel for African migrants into Europe; it is also an area of political and thus of security vacuum. That vacuum has been taken advantage of by gangster groups that are apprehending migrants and then subject them to ill-treatment in close communities.
Concentration camps were recently mentioned also by Pope Francis. While the EU theoretically considers setting up safe zones, terrorists and gangsters have already created them, albeit with much less noble intentions.
The civilised world cannot and must not continue watching this humanitarian disaster to unfold. Libya is also riddled with internal divisions. Its renewal can only be achieved with active assistance of the international community. Europe and the world have supreme interest in a renewed Libya with plural political system.
Libya, under the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, was militarily ‘cracked’ in 2011 by a French-led coalition. It would be more than symbolic if the transformation of the country was led to a successful conclusion by a French-mediated action.
From this very first day of your mandate, President Macron, the clock is ticking. The failure to undertake clear measures and courageous reforms would mean that the situation in Europe would only keep getting worse and, in the next presidential elections in France, Marine Le Pen could wipe her opponents off their feet..
Here’s my proposal for a powerful foreign policy measure: to swiftly proceed with setting up the first, pilot safe zone in Libya. The area where the refugees and asylum seekers will be able to not only wait out the conclusion of their asylum proceedings, but also live for as long as necessary before the situation in their country settles down or is resolved.
The safe zone would naturally be used also to place unsuccessful asylum applicants returned from the European countries in those cases where the readmission agreement with the relevant country is not working.
Such safe zone will clearly require military protection, and its creation would not only have to be negotiated in political terms, but also secured in military terms; this offers an opportunity for enhanced EU cooperation in the field of security and defence.
Initiating and developing such enhanced cooperation, based on a concrete operation and concrete action, will show in full light who is serious about such cooperation. I also think that it will show whether there is a brighter future for the European Union.
President Macron, En marche! It’s time to take action!