For techies: 13 highlights from Macron’s Europe speech

28 Sep 2017 | News

Here are some of the key tech-related moments from the French President’s major address on Tuesday


President Emmanuel Macron's big Europe speech this week – in which he laid out an expansive vision for the future of the bloc – has been greeted with equal-parts praise and wariness.

Here are 13  of the main innovation and education-related nuggets, transcribed from French to English.

Need for a carbon border tax

“We must ensure that our industrialists most exposed to globalisation are on an equal footing with competing industries from other parts of the world which do not have the same environmental requirements. That is why we need a tax on carbon on Europe's borders.”

Electric car subsidies

“I propose setting up a European industrial support programme for [electric] vehicles so that it is possible to cross Europe without damaging it.”

Less redtape on EU agricultural spending

“[A] new common agricultural policy, for it not to be bureaucratic and unjust, must be the instrument of agricultural transition, of our sovereignty in the face of the great challenges of globalisation. [A reformed CAP] should allow more flexibility at the member state level...[and] reduce bureaucracy.”

Stronger science assessment

“Our recent debates on glyphosate and endocrine disruptors show the need for a more transparent, independent, European scientific assessment…that identifies risks and proposes alternatives. This is essential. Today we have political debates that sometimes seek to take the place of scientific debate.”

Digital revolution

“Europe...must take the lead of this revolution by radical innovation. And so, yes, everywhere in Europe, we must do everything possible to have these digital champions.”

New innovation agency

“Let us create in the next two years a European Agency for Breakthrough Innovation, similar to what the United States did with DARPA. This ambition must be ours. Today we have a unique window to do this. Let us take this ambition, finance research in new fields such as artificial intelligence, [and] accept risk taking. This agency would put Europe in a position of innovator and not of follower.

Europe-made ‘champions’

“And rather than deploring [the fact] that the great digital champions are today American, tomorrow Chinese, let us put ourselves in a position to create European champions.”

More tax on multinational tech companies

“We cannot accept having European actors who are taxed and international actors who are not.”

“France has started to push an initiative [on] taxing the value created, where it is produced.”

Need for common EU corporate tax rates

“In the European Union, we cannot have such divergence on corporate tax rates. This divergence of taxation nourishes a form of disunion. Therefore, I hope that by the next European budget in 2020 we will be able to define a range of rates. Compliance with this range would condition access to EU cohesion funds.”

Speak more languages, have more experiences abroad

“Europe must be a place where every student will have to speak at least two European languages ​​by 2024. By 2024, half of [all Europeans] must have spent at least six months in another European country before reaching the age of 25. Whether as a student or an apprentice.”

20 new ‘European universities’

“I propose the creation of European universities, which will be a network of universities from different European countries, with a curriculum where each of the students will study abroad and will have lessons in at least two languages. We must create 20 from here to 2024.”

Shrinking down the EU Commission

“We will not be able to continue with a Commission of nearly 30 members, as if each should look after the interests of his country. This is neither the meaning nor the spirit of the European project. A Commission of 15 members will have to be our horizon.”

A door left open for the UK to return

“In this redesigned, simplified European Union I propose, I cannot imagine that the United Kingdom cannot find its place.”

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