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European Commission

Viviane Reding

Vice-President of the European Commission, EU Justice Commissioner

Main messages: Citizens' Dialogue in Marseille

Citizens' Dialogue/Marseille

14 November 2013

"The EU economy is starting to get its head above water. Now we must concentrate on growth."

"The economic crisis has speeded up the course of political history. Since 2009, Europe has managed to create strong economic governance for itself. Now, for the first time, the Commission gives its opinion on draft budgets during parliamentary debates. The Commission expects all Member States, and especially France and Germany, to make the necessary efforts to support the green shoots of growth in Europe."

"It is the euro that makes us independent of our international competitors. Let's be proud to be European."

"We now need a European Finance Minister, responsible to the European Parliament, with clearly defined powers in relation to the Member States. Solidarity is strength: that should be Europe's response."

"Europe must stop accumulating debts that will be a burden on the next generation. Debt-servicing in France accounts for EUR 46.7 billion, or 12.6 % of total state expenditure and 2.4 % of GDP. This means that France is currently spending more public money on debt repayments than on investment in education or research and innovation. This is not just a question of cost. It is also a question of the country's long-term competitiveness."

"Let's put an end once and for all to this schizophrenia: demanding all manner of subsidies while refusing the European Union a proper budget. The US federal budget is 35 % of GDP, the EU budget 1.05 % - we need a proper EU budget."

"Europe is not only a common market. It also has a role in looking after its citizens. It looks after young job-seekers: a EUR 6 billion budget is available to help young people find work. This scheme should benefit 300 000 people in France, at a cost of EUR 600 million over two years."

"Europe protects our national identities – it is thanks to the EU that the designation 'Champagne' can no longer be used in Switzerland. Only together can we safeguard our values and make them into the norm throughout the world."

"Europe has always needed France in order to make progress. Now France needs Europe if it is to maintain its position on the world stage."

"Together we are stronger than if we were acting alone. A European army would increase our effectiveness and allow savings of between EUR 3 billion and EUR 9 billion a year. A single EU Embassy flying 28 flags could save us between EUR 420 million and EUR 1.3 billion a year."

"Diversity is a valuable asset; let us join together to combat the rise of populism. The insults suffered by my colleagues Cécile Kyenge and Christiane Taubira are unacceptable."

"Europe must not be the scapegoat for national failures. A negative campaign is easy to wage but it achieves nothing."

"The political parties need to do some straight talking about Europe. The EU is not a boxing ring - it's more like a football team."

"The entire continent has to make an effort to integrate the Roma. No one is asking France to take in all the Roma, but those who do come must be treated with dignity, like all EU citizens, in accordance with the values to which we all subscribe."

"The challenge of immigration calls for more Europe. Marseille has always been an open Mediterranean port and a gateway to France and Europe. We need a solidarity mechanism between Member States which takes account of the ability of each country to take in migrants. We cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a graveyard."

"I am proposing the creation of a European intelligence service by 2020. The United States must treat us with respect and as equal partners. That is what we must be: equal partners and accepted as such. Europe is not a colony."

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