The EU leaders talked about the fight against terrorism, the strengthening of “social Europe” and the digital market.
At a press conference, Bettel said he was in favour of Macron’s push to reform the directive on posted workers. Bettel added there was a need to combat social dumping and fraud to create a “fair” European single market, and that he was confident an agreement could be found at the European level. He shared the vision of a European union ready to take on more responsibility in defense matters. He also reiterated his support for a two speed Europe, noting that it already exists, through the common currency, the Schengen agreement, and other instruments.
Bettel indicated his government’s willingness to participate financially in the construction of a renewable energy park on the French side, but said that the closure of the nuclear reactors at Cattenom was a decision for the French government.
The French president reiterated his intention to relaunch the EU. Macron said:
“I am convinced that the generation of leaders that we represent has a certain responsibility for Europe. First there was the founders’ generation, then that of those who managed growth. The choice we’re facing is simple: to know whether we will assist in the disintegration of the EU and then, after long negotiations on Brexit, discuss the departure of other member states, or whether we want to be the generation which reworks the EU.”
The three heads of state and government had agreed to continue these talks with other member state.
Macron said he wanted to “relaunch” economic and monetary union, for a better integration of the Eurozone, a more social Europe and a fiscal Europe through a “real mechanism of convergence”, and to go further on a common EU defence and migration policy. He added several other policy priorities, such as on the digital market, education and research. The French president talked of further integration of “the heart of Europe”, and of a “coalition of the willing.” He was confident that by the end of 2017, a road map on all these issues could be presented to the public.
Meanwhile, German chancellor Angela Merkel has cautiously indicated on Tuesday 29 August that she supports Macron’s idea of a European finance minister, but that a common Eurozone budget would have much smaller proportions than what Macron envisages. This budget would be used for countries which reform their economies but to whom the stability and growth pact gives little way to make significant investments.