Increasing development aid, rebooting European climate policy, partnering with green technologies in emerging economies: the French president has made his diplomatic priorities clear. EURACTIV’s partner Le Journal de l’Environnement reports.
It is a routine protocol. Every September, the president calls all French diplomats to Paris to dictate political, economic and cultural priorities for the coming year.
This Tuesday (29 August) Emmanuel Macron has complied with tradition. In front of a distinguished audience, he listed France’s new ambitions “in the current state of affairs”: security, independence, and influence.
This motto, he stressed, does not mean to “make France a small and reluctant country, jealously guarding its security”.
Development aid on the rise
Dusting off an old and unkept promise, Emmanuel Macron announced he will “devote 0,55% of our GDP to development aid[…] from now until 2022”. This is one-third more than in 2015.
The French development agency (AFD) will have to strengthen its cooperation on the ground with all other actors involved in French development: NGOs, companies, and local communities. All this universe will probably be able to access public grants.
Education will be the focus of bilateral aid, due to its key societal mission: “We must give an alternative to fundamentalism and obscurantism, the role of women, the fight against climate change and access to fossil-free energy, the eradication of pandemics…”.
Scientific partnerships are on the agenda. Renewed help for the India-led International Solar Alliance (a brief for French diplomat Ségolène Royal, charged with international negotiation on the Antarctic and Arctic poles) is soon to be announced, during Macron’s state visit to India planned for the end of the year.
Similar actions could be implemented vis-à-vis China. “Our shared fight [against climate change and pollution], our innovation capital, and our scientific and economic links can really change the course of things.”
Climate leadership for Europe
In Europe, the president announces coming proposals to strengthen the economic and monetary union, deepen cooperation in defense and migration policies. But also to achieve “a real climate and energy leadership for Europe”.
Climate: a new summit in Paris
A new climate summit organized in partnership with the World Bank has been confirmed for 21 December. It will be the opportunity for “taking stock of progress [on the Paris Agreement] and to make the necessary funds available”.
On the environment, Emmanuel Macron announced new legislation, as well as new efforts on biodiversity and topics covered by the Climate Plan presented by Nicholas Hulot at the beginning of summer.