French President Nicolas SARKOZY has announced his plan to freeze the French contribution to the European Union budget if he were re-elected and this in order to save about 600 million Euros per year. Supporting the François BAYROU candidacy in the presidential election, the Young Democrats for Europe condemn this announcement as populist. The shift made towards the extreme right electorate is not at stake with the consequences of this presidential election. This announcement is not credible, either in terms of public finances management, or concerning the European policy of France.
The magnitude of the debt and the French public deficit does not allow invoking measures with so little ambition to reduce our indebtedness. The solution is to be based on a thorough review of public expenditure within the state administration, local authorities and social security, combined with a real tax reform. In this respect, François BAYROU and his team proposed to impose the rule of “zero increase in volume” to all three administrations, to increase VAT of an additional point and to create an additional tax bracket up to 50% for ‘Income Tax (payable beyond € 250,000 per year) in order to get back to balanced budgets in year 2016.
Furthermore, freezing of the French contribution to European Union budget as announced recently by Nicolas SARKOZY would be a terrible mistake for the European and Foreign Policy of France. This is, as often the case with this type of announcements, a legal error in the first place: remind that France, like all European Member States, is committed by the decision called “own resources” and the Lisbon Treaty: its contribution is due automatically by the European Union. But beyond this announcement ignoring the commitments of France, this would be also a political mistake! After the “empty chair” policy announced by the outgoing president about the Schengen Agreement, this has now been added a non-cooperative attitude and non-solidarity vis-à-vis the European institutions work. How can we claim to be part of the engine of the European Union, how to distinguish ourselves from “I want my money back” of the United Kingdom Margaret Thatcher? The Franco-German motor of European integration has worked first and foremost because Germany and France are the two leading contributors to the budget of the European Union … In addition get reminded that 70% of the European Union budget is provided by national contributions and that France is also the largest recipient of European Union spending and in particular of its Common Agricultural Policy.
So the European funds should be strengthened – instead of being diminished – by real own resources in order to give the European Union the true means of its political, economic, social and environmental ambition. Let’s be clear: only the European Union may prove to offer the size of protective rampart that the French expect to guard against negative effects of globalization. To weigh against China, India and the United States, it will need to be united and stand together.
Sylvie GOULARD, MEP in charge of European affairs for the French “Mouvement Démocrate” proposed in 2010 the creation of own resources based on the financial transactions tax or a European carbon tax. In 2009, the vote of the financial perspective up to 2013, Marielle de SARNEZ and Nathalie GRIESBECK, MEPs as well of the French “Mouvement Démocrate”, were both strongly opposed to the reduction of European funding programmes dedicated to research and development, as innovation is the only way back to growth.
Nicolas SARKOZY wants a “strong” France while tackling at the same time the greatest strength of our country. Young Democrats for Europe support François BAYROU in its approach, a more coherent and ambitious one: it is a strong Europe we need.