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A strong Europe in an uncertain world or A European Superstate ?

Jean-Marc Ayrault and Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the meeting of foreign ministers of the six EU founding countries at 25.06. in Berlin

full document translated to English below :

The British decision marks a turning point in the history of European unification.
With Britain, the European Union does not lose a single Member State, but also history, tradition and experience that has shaped us on our common path in recent decades. Also therefore take Germany and France with regret that the British people voted for the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the EU. This decision will lead to a new location and it will have consequences for both the United Kingdom, as well as for the entire EU. The procedure for an orderly withdrawal of a Member State, we have established in the Lisbon Treaty (Article 50). Once the British government has set this process in motion, we are ready to support the institutions in the negotiations to clarify the future relations between the EU and the UK.

The UK case is a case sui generis a Latin phrase, meaning "of its (his, her, or their) own kind; in a class by itself; unique" . But we must not close our eyes also, that the support and passion for our common project in the last decade have eased in parts of our societies. The correct answer may be made either in a simple call for "more Europe", even in a mere reflection. To prevent a creeping erosion of our unification project, we need to focus on the essentials and meet the specific expectations of our citizens. They do not represent the EU as such into question, but are dissatisfied with parts of its functioning. Therefore, we have a double task: our common policies we must strictly focus on those challenges that can only be met through joint European responses. All other issues must be left to the national or regional decision-making processes. And we need better it be to deliver results on the issues on which we want to focus on.

Brexit vote: Prime Minister David Cameron addresses British Parliament

Germany and France are unchanged firmly convinced that the European Union is a historically unique and indispensable framework for the pursuit of freedom, prosperity and security in Europe, for the establishment of peaceful relations between their peoples and to cooperate in peace and stability in the World. Our two countries share a common destiny and a common set of values. Both together form the basis for an ever closer union of our peoples. We will therefore take further steps towards a political union in Europe, and we invite the other European states to join us in this endeavor.

Germany and France have a responsibility to strengthen the solidarity and cohesion within the European Union. Therefore, we must acknowledge the same time, that there are different levels of ambition among the Member States with a view to further integration. Without that we can not fall behind our achievements, we must find ways to better deal with these different levels of ambition so that we ensure that Europe's expectations of all European citizens better met.

We believe that the EU has an obligation and is able to formulate common responses to today's challenges in the world and in Europe. In this context, we consider the European Union as more necessary than ever. It is the only framework that can provide the appropriate common responses to the changing international environment. Germany and France will make therefore strongly for a Europe that is unified and confident occurring at the international level. To provide better results, Europe must concentrate its activities on the European people's expectations: ensuring the safety of our citizens in the face of increasing external and internal threats, creating a stable and Community framework for management of migration and refugee flows, boosting the European economy by promoting the convergence of our economies, to achieve sustainable growth that creates jobs, and progress towards completion of the European Monetary Union.

Statement by the Chancellor following the EU referendum reassuring markets

Europe is put to the test. In our southern and eastern neighbors, we are faced with a series of crises, while recovering only slowly inside economic growth. Looking at the history of European integration, we are convinced that Europe will overcome these challenges. But something is new in these difficult times: The perception that these crises threaten the fabric of our societies, our values ​​and our way of life. We see that terrorists are trying to spread fear in our societies and cause them to split. We are faced with internal and external challenges that are increasingly intertwined. The combination of growth, competitiveness and social cohesion is at the heart of our European model. This must be preserved and here to defend our common values ​​internally and externally.

We know that there are no easy solutions to these serious problems. However, we are determined to tackle it. We are working to meet current challenges and not to lose the same time long-term relevant topics from the eyes. In this spirit, we have agreed on the following proposals.

A European security agenda

The EU is facing a worsening threat and many new security risks. External crises have become more numerous and geographically moved closer to Europe - both its Eastern and its Southern borders. Thus they have a direct impact on the European Union and the safety of its citizens. Power politics has returned to the international stage, crises and conflicts elsewhere directly affect Europe. The terrorist threat is increasing. Complex networks in Europe and beyond are the backbone of this threat. Its causes lie in the crisis areas and unstable, war-torn regions of the world. Europe's role as a credible force for peace is more important than ever.

The security of the individual EU Member States is linked very closely to one another, because these threats affect the continent as a whole: a threat to a Member State also represents a threat to all other Member States constitutes We see our security therefore indivisible.. The European Union and the European security order are key elements of our strategic interests. We will maintain it at all costs.

Germany and France are committed again to the common concept of Europe as a security union on the basis of solidarity and mutual assistance between Member States - a security union that seeks a common security and defense policy. to provide security for Europe and contribute to peace and stability in the world are key elements of the European project.

We see the EU as an actor with design standards in its immediate neighborhood, but also as an actor who enters the world of peace and stability. A player who is able to make a significant contribution in the face of increased global security

The is able to promote a rule-based international order that is based on strategic stability and is based on a reconciliation of interests. We have already been able to achieve significant progress. These deserve recognition and can be the starting point of new joint projects. Such was the historic agreement on the Iranian nuclear program is only made possible by the resolute and tenacious mediation efforts especially from the EU. The European commitment to the Minsk process has helped to contain the military confrontation in eastern Ukraine, which could easily get out of control. Our diplomatic efforts have paved the way towards a political solution to the conflict, we will continue to pursue persistently. In an effort to address the stability risks arising from weak state structures and continued instability in the Southern Mediterranean, we support in Libya to consolidating national unity government. We are convinced that Africa requires our ongoing commitment as a continent of great challenge and at the same time of great opportunity over these crises also.

One of the most important aspects of today's security architecture is the interaction between internal and external security, as the most dangerous risks arise from the interaction of external and internal threats. In response to this challenge to beat Germany and France against a European security agenda that includes all security and defense aspects that play a role at European level. We want to spend the EU's pledge to provide more security for their citizens.

- The first step towards a joint analysis of our strategic environment and a common understanding of our security interests.Germany and France propose that the EU regularly performs audits of its strategic environment, which are transmitted "Foreign Affairs" and the European Council and the Council discussed there. These checks should be largely prepared by an independent body for analysis of situations. In close coordination with the situation center of the EU and the involvement of institutions outside the EU At the end of this process, strategic analysis should be, endorsed at European level. Based on this common understanding, the European Union should agree on strategic priorities for its foreign and security policy in line with European interests.

- The Global Strategy of the European Union, the new external relations policy document of the EU, which is currently being created, is an important step in this direction. But we must go further: In a strongly diverging political interests dominated international environment Germany and France should join together to help develop the EU step by step to an independent and global actor. The goal is to more effectively implement our findings and our instruments in civil and military in real politics. France and Germany will therefore support an integrated EU foreign and security policy, which brings together all EU policy instruments.

- The EU will be strengthened in future crisis management actively because many crises affecting our security directly. We therefore need stronger and more flexible capabilities for crisis prevention and crisis management. The EU should be able to plan and carry out, with the aid of a permanent civil-military planning and command capabilities civilian and military operations more effectively. The EU should be able to rely on deployable forces high readiness and facilitate joint financing their operations. Groups of Member States should be as flexible as possible a permanent structured cooperation in the defense field can set up or go ahead with the operations. The EU Member States should include the establishment of permanent maritime task forces in planning and creating the EU's capabilities in other key areas.

- To meet the increasing security challenges to meet, we must intensify our efforts in the field of defense. The EU Member States should increase their common commitments in terms of their defense budgets and the proportion of expenditure which is intended for the purchase of equipment and for research and technology reaffirm and comply. Within the EU, Germany and France propose the introduction of a European Semester for defense skills. We want to increase the vote in national planning processes, create synergies and align priorities. The establishment of a European research program in the field of defense, the innovation of the European industry should be strengthened.

- The European Union must mobilize in conflict prevention, investing in the promotion of human security and the stabilization of its neighborhood, the crisis-affected regions of the world. The EU should more intensively than before help build the state structures of their partners and neighboring countries and develop. The aim is to strengthen their resilience and thus better position to prevent and combat terrorist threats and crises. Germany and France will strengthen their common commitment to stabilization, reconstruction and development, including in Syria and Iraq, if the situation permits.Germany and France will jointly develop its civilian instruments for crisis management and support world political processes of conflict resolution.

- To ensure our domestic security, the immediate challenges are mainly to improve our capacity to act at European level. The aim must be to best implement existing agreements into practice: 

This refers to the retention of PNR data, the better use of Europol and the local center to combat terrorism. And it applies also to more effectively fight against terrorist financing and the EU action plans to combat firearms and explosives. 

Particular emphasis should be placed on more security for our airports, railway stations and transport hubs.

 We want to further develop cooperation with third countries in North Africa, in the Sahel, in the Lake Chad Basin, in West Africa, the Horn of Africa and the Middle East as well as with regional and subregional organizations (African Union, G5).

- In order to address the root causes of terrorism ideological, Germany and France should be used within the EU for improving the experience for more effective combating radicalization.

- In the medium term, we should set up a European platform for cooperation between intelligence services in full respect of national prerogatives. We should improve the exchange of data within the EU and establish the European emergency planning for major crisis scenarios, involving several Member States, as an important, common project.

The establishment of a European civil protection corps for the disaster should be addressed.

- In the long term it would be useful, the framework of the future European Public Prosecutor (currently limited to the prosecution of criminal offenses against the financial interests of the EU) to include the fight against terrorism and organized crime. That would require an approximation of criminal law in the Member States.

To promote these efforts, Germany and France suggest that the European Council annually as a European Security Council meets again to discuss issues relating to internal and external security and the EU defense matters. This European Council should be prepared by a meeting of the foreign, defense and interior ministers.

A common European asylum and immigration policy

The great mobility towards Europe is the key challenge for the future of our continent.

In this challenge there must be no unilateral national responses, because migration is a challenge of the 21st century for Europe. Our citizens expect from us that we regain control of our external borders, while preserving our European values. For this, we must act together. Germany and France are convinced that it is time to establish a truly integrated European policy on asylum, refugee and immigration policy. 

Given the urgency, we do not rule out that we lead by a group of Member States that share our view of shared responsibility.

- Securing our external border is a purely national task any longer. We have a shared responsibility. 

We want the EU is founded the world's first multinational border and coastal protection. FRONTEX will be filled shortly with staff seconded from the Member States. To this end, Germany and France should propose a joint contribution. 

In the medium term FRONTEX be enabled not only by its own permanent staff strengthened, but also through their own appropriate technical equipment to perform such duties

- To improve border management, we propose the establishment of a European electronic system for travel authorization ( "ESTA") for nationals of third countries without a visa.

- It is our common duty to protect those fleeing war or political persecution. We try priority refugees to their home to provide protection as close as possible.

- Regardless of where they have come to our continent, asylum seekers have the right to be treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. 

To this end, we need our standards and procedures in certain areas further harmonize and simplify. We are ready, the EU needed to support when in the establishment of an efficient asylum system. In the medium term, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) should be transformed into a European asylum agency. 

You should support this process of standardization and provide common databases, to prevent abuses of different standards and multiple registrations and to reduce secondary migration. 

This European asylum agency will help ensure that applications for international protection pursuant to the principles of Dublin (responsibility of Ersteinreiselands, responsibility for dealing with asylum applications) would be assessed uniformly.

- Solidarity is a cornerstone of our European project. Citizens expect that the benefits and burdens of EU membership are shared fairly among the Member States. 

A situation in which the burden of immigration is unevenly shouldered by a limited number of Member States, is unsustainable. In a first step it is important to make the Dublin system for exceptional circumstances weatherproof by being supplemented by a permanent and binding mechanism for burden sharing among all Member States. If necessary, Germany and France are ready here to go ahead with a group of like-minded partners.

- The EU needs to find a common response to the growing number of immigrants who come for economic reasons into the EU. The asylum system is the wrong access route for this type of immigration and currently provides the wrong incentives.

Europe must remain open for the economic and cultural enrichment of our societies by mobility and migration. 

We should consider whether we can arrive at a European immigration law, on the national labor markets clearly shows taking into account the diversity of situations which legal channels to start work there in Europe.
At the same time we need to improve the EU instruments in the return policy, and the fact that we use of EU funds repatriation fund.

- In our relations with the main countries of origin and transit countries, we will work to reduce push factors of irregular migration, in particular by improving economic and social opportunities, especially for young people. 

At the same time we expect a constructive cooperation on return and readmission, border management and control and the fight against human trafficking. Germany and France have already performed on behalf of the EU High Level Migration Dialogues with African countries and will continue to spread to other states. Causes of migration such as poverty, insecurity and political instability should also be tackled by the EU.

Finally, the reception and integration of refugees and immigrants is a challenge for all European societies. 

This is the challenge we have to face in a spirit of responsibility and solidarity. Germany and France previously had different experiences with immigration, but want very fact learn from each other. Through dialogue, exchange and cooperation, we want to bring about a more objective debate on the challenges and opportunities of immigration and integration for our societies. From the learning effect, we hope to create value for other European countries that are facing similar challenges.

Growth promotion and completion of economic and monetary union

Our common currency is the most visible and most ambitious undertaking of European unification. The euro has helped to create a common economic space and to protect our countries against international speculation. The euro is a symbol of our commitment to the irreversibility of the European project.

However, we must also admit that shortcomings were evident by the crisis that triggered doubts among citizens, whether the common currency to redeem their promises and have even put the viability of the entire project in question. 

Therefore, we need to make progress simultaneously in three areas: We must strengthen the economic convergence, expand social justice and the democratic control and improve the shock resistance to ensure the irreversibility of the euro.

France and Germany are in a shared responsibility to build a robust monetary union, which can be in the global competition claim. This spirit it is important to revive, to advance the debate.

We should recognize that the requirements for membership of the euro and the budgetary implications arising from the single currency, are greater than we have expected with the introduction of the euro. Therefore, we should respect the desire of other member states to decide for themselves when they adopt the single currency.

- To overcome the crisis the monetary union must enter into a new phase of economic convergence. France and Germany have the primary responsibility to facilitate such a process of economic convergence and better control of the monetary union. Solidarity and obligations associated with this process must be in a balanced relationship. For this, both surplus and deficit countries have to move because a unilateral adjustment is already politically not feasible.

- Our growth potential is significantly weakened by the crisis. Europe must liberate untapped potential in sectors of strategic interest in the completion of the internal market. We want bilateral relief initiatives for rapid harmonization of regulation and supervision and for the unification of corporate tax rules. In order to unlock growth and to increase the productivity of the European economy, we need more public and private investment. We renew our commitment to structural reforms with the aim to solicit investment, and to increase the competitiveness of European economies further.

- We need to take measures to promote growth and convergence in the Member States in strategic sectors such as energy, digital economy, research, innovation and training. In the short term we could in the course of strengthening the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) agreeing common objectives, interlink the public policy objectives and resources for investment better together. This strategic sectors should eventually merge into a unified regulatory framework and even supervised by a common authority. They should benefit from strong European investment capacity so that convergence can be promoted by cross-border investments. Bilateral Franco-German initiatives should be made in this context.

- The existing architecture is not sufficiently resistant to external shocks and internal imbalances. Let the monetary union unfinished, we jeopardize the long term survival of the euro. The completion of the architecture requires a simultaneous intensification of political control and financial burden sharing. Given existing imbalances, a deepening of the monetary union is not done in one step, but only be the result of a pragmatic, gradual evolution that takes into account the necessary results in growth and employment. These results are essential in order to enhance the confidence of Member States and citizens towards the European Union and to create the appropriate political conditions for new integration steps towards the completion of monetary union.

- We should recognize that the Member States of the euro back on different economic traditions, between which we must find a balance, if the euro is to function properly. The architecture of the monetary union is not only can be based on rules or depend solely on political decisions, nor be subjected entirely to market forces. Each step towards the deepening of EMU will have to include all these aspects.

- Economic policy in the monetary union are increasingly subject to Community decisions. In return, citizens rightly expect that these decisions are subject to control by a supranational institutions them accountable. In the short term, a permanent President of the Euro Group should be established, which is a charge of the monetary union subcommittee in the European Parliament accountable. In the longer term, the Euro Group and its president should be a parliamentary body accountable, which consists of members of the European Parliament and members of national parliaments. This body should have powers in all matters of fiscal and macroeconomic surveillance.

- In this context, we should further develop the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) into a fully fledged European Monetary Fund, which is subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

- A common household - a central component of all successful monetary unions in the world 

- is missing in the architecture of the monetary union. While avoiding permanent unilateral transfers long common means of macroeconomic stabilization between euro area Member States should contribute. Such fiscal capacity should be built up gradually and in the course of progress in common fiscal and economic policy decisions. in a first step, it could begin its work in 2018 to encourage investment in the most affected by the crisis. Germany and France should form the nucleus of a group that is willing conceptual move forward on this issue.

- The acceptance of the euro is undermined by a lack of progress on common social standards and the preparation of tax equity between Member States. We should therefore give us the principle that every step must be to further deepen the monetary union with progress in the joint taxation, particularly transnational companies associated, as well as the development of a social union, which is supported by common minimum social standards.

But the plans have been described as an 'ultimatum' in Poland, with claims it would mean countries transfer their armies, economic systems and border controls to the EU.

Foreign ministers of France and Germany are said to have drawn up a blueprint for a 'European superstate' as leaders Francois Hollande (left) and Angela Merkel (centre) met with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi (right) tonight for crisis talks after the Brexit vote

The plans have been 'leaked' to a Polish television channel and the country's foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski, pictured, is said to be 'outraged' Zaoralek added that the four eastern members had reservations about the proposed common security policy.

Eastern members have become increasingly jittery on security issues since Moscow used so-called "hybrid warfare", or undeclared covert tactics - to annex the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in 2014.

Poland's public TVP described the Franco-German proposal as an "ultimatum" designed to create a European "superstate dominated by large nations."
Ayrault described the Franco-German proposal as a "contribution", adding that there would be "others". 

This nine-page report has 'outraged' its foreign minister Witold Waszczykowski.

He said: 'This is not a good solution, of course, because from the time the EU was invented a lot has changed.