(14 June 2019) – EU member states broadly support priorities highlighted for the next five years, although they call for a more “positive” vision for the bloc. Despite the demands made by the capitals, the latest version of the blueprint only include small changes.
The first draft, dated 7 June, listed four main priorities: protecting citizens and freedoms; developing a strong and vibrant economic base; building a more climate-friendly, green, fair and inclusive future; and defending European interests and values on the global stage.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden, praised the “quality” of the document. But during the long discussion held by the ambassadors, a significant group noted that the tone of the text was “too negative and defensive”.
The member states’ list of demands included Hungary and Poland’s defence of Christians worldwide; Spain’s call to preserve the EU’s competition policy amid Franco-German pressure to review antitrust rules; and Paris and Berlin’s reference to “digital sovereignty”, prompted by concerns triggered by foreign 5G operators like Huawei.
Regarding the first priority, ‘Protecting citizens and freedoms’, migration remains the most controversial issue. (EurActiv)