Debate on the future of the European Union with François HOLLANDE, President of the French Republic:
- extracts from the first round of political group leaders
- extracts from the answers by François HOLLANDE
Première transmission: 05/02/2013
Strasbourg, France - European Parliament
Fin de production: 05/02/2013
The President of the French Republic, François HOLLANDE, was invited today by the EP President Martin SCHULZ to visit the EP and to debate with MEPs. This was the first visit that the President of the French Republic made to the European Parliament since he was elected in May 2012, defeating Sarkozy. Today, HOLLANDE debated in the Plenary, with political group leaders, about the Future of the European Union and the Eurozone, as well as about the economic crisis and the EU budget for 2014 to 2020. Some references were stated too about the French intervention in Mali.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior shot of the EP, Strasbourg
||SOUNDBITE (French) Jose Manuel BARROSO, President of the European Commission: "Since you took office you quite rightly put growth at the centre of the debate in France and in Europe. If we want to guarantee sustainable growth then we need investment as well. And the most significant tool that we have for that at European level is the European budget and that is why I call on the heads of state and government who will be meeting in Brussels this week to try and find a compromise which matches the ambitions that we hold out for Europe".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Jose Manuel BARROSO, President of the European Commission: "I would like to offer my sincere praise to France for its determination to stand side by side with the people of Mali. By doing this you have guaranteed that Europe too is present defending our interests and our values and showing that our mission goes beyond the borders of Europe itself".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Joseph DAUL (EPP, FR): "We are concerned by the proposals from the European Council for the next Multiannual Financial Framework. These proposals are going in the wrong direction. Instead of investing in the future of Europe we are attacking one of our best tools to generate growth: the European budget, a budget which 94% goes back to the member states in terms of investment. Investment which itself has a multiplier effect; and without this money some member states won't be able to carry out the reforms made necessary by the economic crisis. Cutting the budget this much is a political mistake, better to close the shop now and be honest with our citizens on what's going on".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Joseph DAUL (EPP, FR): "Today's proposal is actually an act of political resignation, and we are going to reject it".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Hannes SWOBODA (S&D, AT): "We have recession in the Eurozone and unemployment is sky rocketing. Soon there will be 10 million more unemployed people in Europe than there were in 2008. We don't want anymore this austerity which is pushing people into poverty and unemployment. We need to give a breath of oxygen to the European economy".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Hannes SWOBODA (S&D, AT): "The coal and steel industries are threatened with extinction in Europe. Some leaders think that this is not an industry for the future but they are very wrong. If we don't have any industry in Europe then we will be even more vulnerable in a globalised world".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE): "Allow me to congratulate the liberal in you. I don't want create trouble with your socialist friends, but your struggle in favour of 'marriage for all' is a step forward, is a new freedom, and it's at the heart of the battle we are trying to fight in our group".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE): "There is a political short sightedness which rules in Europe at the moment and I fear there is actual budget 'fraud' which is going to be perpetrated on Friday. Because the budget commitments are going to be put at the level desired by the cohesion countries and the payments will be at the level desired by contributor countries. The result obviously is this famous 60 billion deficit, plus the 16 we already had at the beginning, so that's 76 billion euro, and whether I say it in the French or the Belgian way, it changes nothing to the deficit figure".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Daniel COHN-BENDIT (Greens/EFA, FR): "The CAP has to serve all European farmers and not the minority in the agro-food industry. 80% of CAP money goes to 20% of farmers; well, that's not solidarity for me".
||SOUNDBITE (English) Martin CALLANAN (ECR, UK): "You label yourself a pro-European, but if you truly were, then you would allow the treaties to be changed so that once and for all this Parliament can finally decide where and when it seats. A large majority of members from all different nationalities in this Chamber, from all political groups, including even some French members, are now in favour of this reform. I hope you will support it and I am sorry that none of the other group leaders had the courage to mention it".
||SOUNDBITE (French) François HOLLANDE, President of the French Republic: "I am aware that what's available today on the table won't satisfy a majority in this House. So I'll say that to my colleagues, my fellow heads of state and government. I listened to the European Parliament and I listened to the various voices."
||SOUNDBITE (French) François HOLLANDE, President of the French Republic: "I think that France needs to participate fully in the European budget, receive what we are entitled to, but we shouldn't call for a cheque or a rebate because that would mean that Mrs Thatcher's ideas have won out, when everyone is going to come and ask for a faire return for their contributions." Applause.
||SOUNDBITE (French) François HOLLANDE, President of the French Republic: "We have just celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Friendship between Germany and France, and Strasbourg was part of that reconciliation between our two countries. Strasbourg is both the history and the future of Europe. It's a city that represents what Europe is. I'm not just defending it because it's in France; Europe has other seats in other countries. I defend Strasbourg because Strasbourg is Europe; and if you think that it shouldn't be the seat of the European Parliament then doubt would undermine everybody's view of Europe, no matter what the logistic difficulties you may encounter. Thank you anyway for receiving me here in Strasbourg, at the seat of the European Parliament".