Strauss-Kahn wants a ‘sustainable’ European project

Dominique Strauss-Kahn explains the outlines of his project for a
‘sustainable Europe’ in an exclusive interview with EURACTIV.

A “sustainable” Europe

Strauss-Kahn explained that his group undertook a study of the
‘sustainability’ of the European project instead of concentrating
on the European sustainable development strategy in the stricter
sense. As to that strategy, the former French minister sees the
need for a programme to organise the “ecological convergence” based
on a number of environmental indicators just like the EU did with
its economic and monetary convergence criteria. He underlined the
need to complement the calls for a ‘supercommissioner’ for
competitiveness and industry with a ‘sustainable development
council’ in which NGOs and institutions would be able to express
themselves.

Financial perspective: the six are not
realistic


The Strauss-Kahn report has given support to the Commission’s
position on the financial perspective against the letter of the
so-called “gang of six” (six Member States who want to cap the EU’s
long-term budget provisions 2007-2013 to one per cent of GNP). He
even thinks the EU budgetary plan needs to be increased to two per
cent. “What is not realistic is the position of governments who, on
the one hand are concerned about the Lisbon agenda, and, on the
other hand, are not willing to provide the EU with the necessary
means,” the former minister underlined.

CAP still needs further reform but will
not cost any less


Asked by EURACTIV on his proposal to reduce the CAP (Common
Agriculture Policy) expenses to 20 per cent of the budget, the
French politician was keen to make clear that under the two per
cent scenario, the CAP expenditures would “mechanically” be reduced
to 20 per cent of GNP. He stated that “the agriculture policy [of
the EU] needs to be adapted further”, but doubted whether it would
cost less.

Industrial policy needs European
champions


Mr Strauss-Kahn is in favour of creating European industry
champions, even if that means being less strict concerning
competition rules. “The rules on competition policy should not
systematically get the upper hand over operations which are
estimated to be needed”. Asked by EURACTIV if in that case, the EU
would need a “Eurokartellamt” [a European cartel office], Mr
Strauss-Kahn responded: “Competition is no doubt one of the areas,
along with research, where an agency is a more appropriate
structure than the institution which currently exists.”

The EU’s final borders

On the final frontiers of the Union, Strauss-Kahn has quite
surprising views. He is clearly in favour of Turkey joining the EU
and insists that the EU should also take its responsibility
concerning the countries around the Mediterranean: “What I’m sure
about is that Europe is like a magnet. If you wanted to use a big
piece of chalk to trace it out on a map, the chalk wouldn’t go
inside the Bosphorus straits or inside the Gibraltar straits. The
chalk would necessarily encompass all the roots of our European
civilisation, ie the Mediterranean.”

He goes on to say that “that of course implies very different
levels of political integration. There are countries who will not
or who cannot integrate further. In the way the world shapes up in
40 or 50 years time in one scenario, the Maghreb [a group of North
West African countries] wouldn’t have its own autonomous existence.
And so we have responsibility for it.” As to the eastern border of
the EU, Mr Strauss-Kahn states: “My personal conviction is that
Europe’s sphere of influence will end where it meets China’s sphere
of influence”.

Read the full
interview [in French] with Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

 

Former French finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn presented
his report outlining a new 'mobilising myth' for the European Union
to Commission President Prodi on 18 May 2004 (see

EURACTIV 24 May
2004
). EURACTIV had the opportunity to interview Mr
Strauss-Kahn on some of the issues in the report of his expert
group. 

 

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