How will ‘crisis manager’ keep Merkel Europe together?

Angela Merkel confidently begins a historically difficult task in the final phase of her chancellorship. How can the European Union, deeply affected and weakened by the corona crisis, be helped to recover?

Germany will hold the rotating EU Presidency in the next six months. That places the Chancellor, even more than usual, at the center of European politics.

“Europe needs us,” she said recently without false modesty in the Bundestag. “As we need Europe.” The pandemic has, according to Merkel, “exposed how fragile the European project is.” The Union faces the greatest challenge of its existence, due to the corona crisis and the resulting economic downturn.

Merkel has been in power for almost fifteen years now. None of the European heads of government have been around for so long. Not only will her extensive experience as a crisis manager be tested in the coming months. She will also want to prove that she believes in the EU and that she is ready to devote political capital to holding and strengthening the EU together.

Until her own party, it has long been doubted whether she really had an eye for the European interest. “She’s destroying my Europe,” Helmut Kohl (Chancellor from 1982 to 1998) is said to have complained to friends in 2011.

But now Merkel – “as someone who lived the first 35 years of her life in the GDR” – says that Europe “fills me with great gratitude for its democratic promise of freedom and equality. And with the obligation to fully commit myself to this European promise. ” For someone who doesn’t really like big words, that’s almost a creed.

Her starting position for the next six months is strong. She is still the most valued politician in Germany – 71 percent of Germans are satisfied with her, according to a recent poll.

Its coalition government, initially made weak by a series of internal conflicts, has been moving with closed ranks since the beginning of the corona crisis. Its Christian Democrats are higher in the polls than they had been for years, and would get close to 40 percent of the vote.

Moreover, its European politics can count on particularly broad support in the German parliament. Euroscepticism, as so strongly represented in the Dutch parliament, is only played in the Bundestag by the radical right-wing AfD.

All this gives Merkel valuable backing for when Germany will soon have to compromise in Brussels and have to dig deep into its pockets.

Merkel with the Franse president Emmanuel Macron in 2017.
Photo of Julien Warnand / EPA

Double task

The Federal Chancellor has set herself a double task for the European Presidency. Firstly, it wants to limit the impact of the corona crisis on public health and secondly, strongly promote economic recovery. With a view to the somewhat longer term, it wants to better equip the EU for a future in which Europe is more dependent on itself. The aim is to promote European sovereignty in a world increasingly dominated by the United States and China.

Two more major issues will be high on the European agenda in the coming months: the negotiations on the new EU budget and the settlement of Brexit. But Germany as EU president is not at the forefront of this.

European climate policy, digitization and relations with China will have to do with less attention than Berlin intended before the corona crisis broke out. The European Commission will launch a new initiative for migration policy in September.

In fact, the starting signal for the German Presidency, which officially starts on 1 July, echoed through Europe six weeks ago. On Monday, May 18, Merkel and French President Macron jointly presented their massive 500 billion euro recovery plan.

The plan was an important signal. Germany, which had always opposed the pooling of debt in the EU, now agreed that the Union would take on debt to finance the bailout plan. To keep the EU together, Merkel made a major political turn as a prelude to the six months in which she held the presidency.

In the meantime, the European Commission has put its own, even more extensive, plan on the table, which is now difficult to negotiate. The Netherlands, Austria, Denmark and Sweden have objected that aid for countries in great financial distress may be disbursed as gifts or grants, rather than as loans, which must be repaid.

In Germany there is much less political resistance to this. In the Bundestag, former SPD leader Martin Schulz, who was also president of the European Parliament, called the Netherlands and its supporters tauntly “wealth separatists”. Only the liberal FDP openly protested this misguided wording.

Merkel expressed himself more diplomatically this weekend. “I expect each of us to put ourselves in the situation of the others and look at the problems from their perspective,” she said in an interview with the Southgerman newspaper and some other European newspapers. For countries that already have a lot of debt, extra loans are less useful than subsidies. I am working to convince those countries that have agreed to loans so far, but reject subsidies. ”

Merkel with then-Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (links), EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans (rear) and then President of the European Council Donald Tusk (right) in 2015.
Photo Olivier Hoslet / EPA

Geopolitical background

The fact that Merkel suddenly no longer keeps his hand on the pulse has both an economic and a geopolitical background. As the largest and strongest economy in Europe, Germany has relatively good maps compared to many southern countries to overcome the crisis. At home, the Merkel government has already earmarked hundreds of billions to get the economy going again, keep businesses running or even partially nationalize them.

Poorer EU Member States have far fewer financial options. If they do not receive aid, not only will an important outlet for Germany threaten to shrink, but the gap between poor and rich countries in the EU will then widen further than it already is.

This could dangerously disrupt the balance of power in the EU, the political class in Germany realizes. If the big, rich country in the middle of Europe becomes even stronger while other countries are left behind, it can easily fuel the aversion to and fear of yet another strikingly dominant Germany.

“We should not allow the pandemic to disperse the economic prospects of the Member States, thereby weakening the common internal market, a core element of Europe,” Merkel said earlier this month. In other words, it is a well-understood German self-interest to ensure that the balance in Europe is not further disrupted.

It is still unclear whether Merkel will also work hard on the intention to redesign the Union. Macron has been waiting in vain for German willingness to cooperate with his reform plans for almost three years.

The coalition agreement of the current (fourth) Merkel cabinet, of the CDU / CSU and SPD, initially seemed to be a sign that Berlin wanted to accept the outstretched hand of Paris. “A new beginning for Europe”, is its ambitious title. Those words did not lead to many concrete new steps – until Merkel and Macron presented their recovery plan.

Suddenly, German politicians, including Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (SPD), believed that a step had finally been taken towards a true political union and a United States of Europe. Merkel himself does not use the latter term. She advocates caution in this matter, saying that in the current crisis, there is no time to make treaty changes.

Merkel often emphasizes that European countries must cooperate much more closely, for example in foreign policy and defense. However, the Presidency will last only six months, and in that short period, Germany will at most be able to initiate new discussions in this sensitive area.

The experienced politician Alexander Lambsdorff of the liberal FDP, sister party of the VVD and D66 in Europe, does not expect Merkel to come up with, or even with a vision, great impetus for reform and further integration of the EU. “She never did that. She has always been a crisis manager, never a Helmut Kohl. That will not change anymore. ”

Correction (June 29, 2020): An earlier version of this article stated that Germany will chair the European Council. That should be: President of the Council of the European Union, or more briefly: EU President. That has been adjusted above.


“Return to the European Parliament on Wednesday”. Very easy chair with the help of Merkel? – Free newspaper

Meditate on an unexpected and sensational return, Silvio Berlusconi. After the long quarantine in Provence by his daughter Marina, he writes the messenger, the leader of Come on Italy “he is consulting the doctors, he asks them if the situation is safe” and if so, next Wednesday he plans to fly to the Strasbourg European Parliament “to participate – and certainly not as a peon but as a prominent personality of the Ppe – the settlement of Angela Merkel for the European semester of German driving “. A super-event and a significant presence, because Berlusconi would thus remark his closeness to the popular Europeanist front, as opposed to the internal sovereignty of Matteo Salvini e Giorgia Meloni.

Cav explains the messenger, “is convinced that after the epidemic many things will change and consider the crisis is an opportunity also politics and also plans to make several episodes in Campania. Where the mother of all battles is played for Forza Italia: the one to overcome the 10% (in the other regions it is unlikely to succeed) that is to reach two figures thanks also to the dragging, as well as of the Knight back on track, of the aspiring governor Caldoro“. But the real game is played across the border, in fact.” His advisers push him, without any effort, to push even more on the protagonism in Europe. And for him, the appointment on Wednesday is of strategic importance. In fact, he considers himself the first Merkelist on the Continent, also in terms of seniority “. And Berlusconi will focus on his seniority:” I am the one who has known the Chancellor for the longest time of all, as well as sharing his pro-European spirit and the need to give finally a greater push to the EU, never as now the world needs more Europe but done well ” My thinks like Angela: “She is very reasoned, we must use it, and I trust that Conte he will convince himself without listening to those ramblings of the grillini “. A position that could serve him also in the future, in view of a possible new post-election center-right government: the ex-premier” would like to do the foreign Minister. And in fact friends of me, the leaders, the force and the Northern League, are trying to push Salvini to reshape his anti-German positions “.


Emmanuel Macron at Angela Merkel to discuss European recovery

Angela Merkel wanted to make it a symbol, to remind Franco-German unity in these troubled times. For her first real meeting with a head of state since the start of the coronavirus crisis, the Chancellor receives Emmanuel Macron this afternoon at Meseberg Castle, official residence of the German government 70 km from Berlin.

→ READ. Coronavirus: Paris and Berlin hope to unite Europe around their recovery plan

On the menu of their bilateral meeting, which will be followed by a press conference and a working dinner: agree on a common argument to convince the 25 other member countries of the European Union (EU) to adopt the budget for the next seven years, as well as the historic recovery plan of 750 billion euros, endowed with 500 billion euros in grants and 250 billion euros in loans.

It alone can convince the “frugal States”

While Germany will take, from this Wednesday 1is July, the rotating presidency of the EU for six months, the stake for the chancellor is enormous. Crowned by its good management of the pandemic, with nearly 9,000 dead for a country of 83 million inhabitants, the one that embodies stability not only across the Rhine, but also in Europe, after 15 years in power, has a good chance of reach consensus, thereby completing its fourth and final mandate.

Before that, it will still have to persuade, with the help of Emmanuel Macron, the reluctant countries. Referred to as “Of frugal states”, as supporters of budgetary austerity, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden and Denmark oppose the idea of ​​a European fund financed by the pooling of debt.

Already on the move for several weeks, Angela Merkel met, on June 22, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, leader of the skeptics. Twenty-four hours later, the French president went to The Hague to discuss the same subject with the Dutch leader.

A presidency that generates unrivaled expectations

By the time of the European summit in Brussels, on July 17 and 18, there are therefore three weeks of intense exchanges in tandem to succeed in rallying them to their cause. “I cannot remember a presidency of the European Council which raised so many expectations and tackled so many themes”, remarks German SPD MEP Udo Bullmann.

Indeed, beyond managing the economic and social consequences of Covid-19, which will occupy an important place on the European agenda under the German presidency, Berlin has also fixed, among its priorities, ecological and energy transition, sovereignty of Europe in digital matters, and major international issues, such as Brexit or relations with the United States and China. So many subjects also addressed during today’s Merkel-Macron meeting.


Asia doesn’t want European tourists

The European Union was to agree, Monday, June 29, on a list of fifteen countries that their level of contamination with Covid-19 would make consider as “safe”, allowing their residents to come to Europe from the month of July.

→ READ. Coronavirus: Europe Reopens to Fourteen Countries

This still provisional list, but made public on Saturday June 27 (1), seems to exclude the United States where the epidemic is out of control, like Russia, but China could be included. Non-essential trips to the EU, which have been banned since mid-March, should be phased out from 1is July.

For some Asian countries, on the other hand, there is no question of opening the borders to Europeans who they consider unsafe in terms of health.

Europe demands reciprocity from China

Thus this list of fifteen countries presents certain anomalies. The epidemiological criteria (a rate of new cases of Covid-19 close to or below 16 per 100,000 inhabitants, EU average, over the past 14 days) does not seem to be questioned, except perhaps for the China. Several Member States have judged “ problematic »The reliability of Chinese epidemiological data.

China could still be on this list, but in this case, the European Union “demands” reciprocity. In other words, European nationals can also freely travel to China. What is not the case for the moment, with the exception of some diplomats or businessmen, for whom a quarantine of two weeks is compulsory in Shanghai, in a hotel chosen by the Chinese government.

No European citizen can go to Japan

Another ambiguity of this list, the green light granted to Japanese and South Korean nationals, without “requirement” but accompanied by a simple “request” for “reciprocity”. For the South Korean authorities there is no travel ban in South Korea. “Anyone can enter the country, says a resident of Seoul, but there are some requirements: visa application at the consulate and test on arrival. If the test is positive, it is direct at the hospital, if it is negative it is about two weeks in a hotel chosen by the government, at 100 € per day at the expense of the traveler. “ In other words, a crippling constraint for a tourist. “The South Koreans are afraid of the Europeans whom they consider as” contaminants “”, said this witness again in Seoul.

Foreign residents in Japan cannot return to Japan

The situation is much more ambiguous for Japan. To date, no European national has the right to go there. No exceptions. Even European residents living and paying their taxes in Japan, stranded abroad, are not allowed to return to “their” country of residence.

→ READ. Deconfinement: Orly Airport takes off again

The European “demand” for reciprocity could make a difference, but the Japanese bureaucracy has still not received an order to resolve this situation which affects thousands of people. “Part of my family is in Tokyo and I cannot join them,” testifies a Frenchwoman stranded in Paris.

Hong Kong and Taiwan, exemplary in the management of the virus, are not on the list

Finally, no reference to Hong Kong or Taiwan on this European list, while the prevalence rate in these countries is among the lowest in the world. “If he does not live in Hong Kong, no European can enter it, explains a European expatriate, you can’t even get on the plane. “ In Taiwan, which has managed the coronavirus epidemic in an exemplary manner, “No European tourist returns, it’s closed”, explains a European consultant living on the spot for years.

Taiwanese and foreign residents were able to return, but had to be quarantined for 14 days. “If a Taiwanese man goes to Europe, he should quarantine himself on his return. “ The rules have been softened since June 22 for diplomats, businessmen or teachers, with tests three days before leaving and a quarantine modulated according to the countries of origin: five days for New Zealand but 15 days for Europe … still considered “dangerous”.

(1) Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay.


EU: Conte responds to Merkel stating that it is he who handles Italy’s accounts

“I take care of our accounts,” said Giuseppe Conte in response to statements by Angela Merkel, in an interview with several European newspapers published today, arguing that European countries should use all the instruments approved by the European Union to deal with the economic crisis and caused by the pandemic, including loans from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

“Nothing has changed in Angela Merkel’s point of view, but it’s me, with [o ministro da Economia, Roberto] Gualtieri and the state accountants, who are responsible for handling the accounts “of Italy,” said Conte.

“We are preparing a relaunch plan for Italy that we will present in September,” added the Italian Prime Minister, who was speaking at a press conference on the start of the school year in Italy.

Conte reacted to Merkel’s statements in an interview published today by six European newspapers, the Italian La Stampa, the German Süddeutsche Zeitung, the British The Guardian, the French Le Monde, the Spanish La Vanguardia, and the Polish Polityka.

Asked whether Italy should use the ESM, whereby eurozone countries can claim up to 2% of their GDP for health care costs directly or indirectly on low-interest loans, Merkel said that “the decision is from Italy “but added that the EU created mechanisms such as ESM, the EIB line and the SURE program, which” anyone can use “.

“We have not made them available to remain unused,” said the chancellor.


group actions without borders, “very good news” for the UFC-que choisir

The Cross : The negotiators of the european Parliament and the european Council are reached in the June 22 agreement on collective redress in all member States. That means this term ?

Raphael Bartlomé : What Brussels called a ” class action “, it is the action group for which the associations of consumers, such as UFC-que choisir, fought to be included in the French law. This is the case since 2018. An important precision, because the term “class action” can be confusing when so-called legal entities, for commercial use in France to offer consumers recourse to justice. If 200 consumers respond to the proposal, this entity will launch 200 trials !

→ TO READ. The UFC-que choisir is launching a group action against Google

The group action, it must be committed in France by an association of unselfishness on behalf of aggrieved consumers. It must first prove to the court that there has been a finding of professional misconduct. Once the justice has recognized, it is possible to communicate for victims to come forward, and then obtain compensation for each of them.

What is the scope of this agreement between negotiators of the various brussels institutions ?

R. B : This is a very good news because there are only 19 member States of the european Union, offer consumers the possibility of such legal action. I think that today there is a good alignment of the stars for this agreement is now endorsed by the Council and the european Parliament, and that every country has a common base to fight against the evil practices of the professionals. Of course, the UFC-que choisir will ensure that base is the best saying possible and that it translates in the best way possible in the French law.

The group action to the French is not satisfactory ?

R. B : Far away, especially if we compare with what happens in Portugal, for example. The Portuguese have opted for processes that are highly flexible, fairly homogeneous, and which make it possible to launch group actions on multiple topics. The national Assembly is working on how to improve our device.

EU : group actions without borders,

In France, the group shares can only relate to cases pertaining to personal data, the environment, health and consumer law. But for each of these themes, the harm to be compensable may be different. It is a bit of a patchwork of legislation.

The “dieselgate” is a good example. In France, a group action in the domain of consumption can lead only to compensation for economic damages. However, it has not been the case for the consumers in this case. They have been seriously deceived, but that has not cost a penny.

Another example : France has opted for that only victims that are known to be indemnified. This is what is called the ” opt-in “. Other countries, such as Portugal, have opted for the ” opt out “. That is to say, for the possibility of a search who are the victims of poor business practices and to indemnify them even if they do not occur. It should, therefore, be that the widespread european is also an opportunity to improve practices.

Europe would also like to that the actions of the group are trans-european.

R. B : It is a very good thing because in the european Bureau of consumers, of which we are members, is often confronted with difficulties due to different legal interpretations of each country. However, the poor business practices of large corporations do not know, they, of borders.

→ TO READ. The european Centre of consumption, an ally in the event of a trade dispute

It can therefore be hoped that the decision of a court in a member State is valid in the other 26. This international power of justice would be probably even better to think about some companies.


The “crisis migrants” to the crisis of the home

Maurizio Ambrosini
Professor of sociology of migration at the university of Milan (1)

The number of asylum seekers in Europe reached a peak in 2015 and 2016, but is very greatly reduced since. The public opinions and the governments continue, however, to reason as if the continent was facing a “wave” of migration.

Five years have gone since 2015 entered the collective imagination of europe, as the year of the ” refugee crisis “. This year, Daech is progressing in Iraq, while in Syria the civil war has already uprooted millions of people. On 20 April, 800 people die in the sinking of their boat in libyan waters, not far from the Italian island of Lampedusa. This is the deadliest event in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the XXIe century.

Over the months, the number of deaths at sea will not cease to increase. At the end of 2015, there are 3 328 victims were verified, more than double that in 2014 (2). The tragedies of migration also occur on the land. On August 28, 2015, it is discovered in Austria the bodies of 71 people in a refrigerated truck abandoned near the Hungarian border. This drama sheds light on the flow, which, mainly from Syria, trying to reach the territory of the european Union (EU) by road, via the so-called ” Balkan route “, passing through Turkey and Greece. Hungary was the first EU country on their way, and many were gathered in detention camps and virtually abandoned.

A “walk of hope” in the direction of Germany

On the 29th of August, asylum-seekers camped at the railway station of Keleti to Budapest decide to embark on a “walk of hope” to the austrian border, in the direction of Germany. Two days later, chancellor Angela Merkel pronounced his famous words : “We have managed so many problems, we are going to manage this situation. “ This was a turning point in German policy.

→ TO READ. Migrants : Europe gives priority to border security

A few days later, on 2 September, the photo of the little Alan Kurdi, found drowned on a beach of the Turkish Aegean, shakes for a moment the european public opinion. Three days later, Angela Merkel decides to suspend the application of the Dublin regulation III (3). Buses and trains are sent to collect refugees in Hungary, in order to transfer them in Germany. On arrival, they are greeted by applause, of flowers, of music.

According to Eurostat, the directorate-general of the statistical information to the european Commission, the countries of the EU have received a total of 1.3 million claims in 2015 and 1.2 million in 2016. Germany was the catalyst for most of them.

Europe is divided, the borders are closing

But even during these years, more than 80 % of asylum seekers in the world have continued to be welcomed in developing countries, especially those bordering on crisis areas. Only a perspective eurocentric can power the legend of a Europe invaded by the refugees, a ” refugee crisis “. Germany is the only EU country that is among the top ten in the world in terms of the number of registered refugees : 1.1 million of applications accepted and 300 000 applications awaiting the end of 2019.

→ ANALYSIS. Migrants in the Mediterranean, the drones replace the maritime patrol

The EU is, however, deeply divided on this issue. September 15, 2015, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban decided to close the border with Serbia. His country built a fence along the border with Croatia, a country member of the EU. In November, Austria did the same with Slovenia, then Slovenia with Croatia. In November, the terrorist attacks in Paris are sway public opinion.

Another shock to the culture of hospitality is caused by the events of the New Year in Cologne, with assaults and sexual harassment attributed to men of arab origin. The link between muslims, terrorism and rape, fueling a wave of fear and rejection of refugees. Meanwhile, a political decision with heavy consequences was made in Brussels : the institution of centres of registration and identification of migrants at points of entry to the european Union, mainly in Italy and Greece, with the obligation to identify the newcomers by force of fingerprints. In return, the european commission, chaired by Jean-Claude Juncker, proposed a distribution of asylum seekers between member States.

Wave of xenophobic

However, if the centres became operational, the redistribution did not follow. In the end, only 13 000 asylum seekers were transferred from Italy and a little more than 20 000 from Greece. However, the asylum policy have not been written in Italy, as in Greece, until now, was to facilitate the transit of migrants towards the EU, most of them demand nothing better.

→ TO READ. Migrants and coronavirus : the new amalgam of european nationalists

But the new centres of registration and identification, the greater the reinforcement of the border controls put in place by the neighbouring States, led to a rise in asylum claims in both countries, fueling a wave of xenophobic. In Italy, on the number of people arriving by sea, only 37 % had sought asylum in the country in 2014. The rate rose to 56 % in 2015, 68 % in 2016, to reach 100 % in 2017.

While the immigration, in Italy as in the rest of western Europe, is predominantly female and european, the perception of the most common, swollen by a hostile propaganda, identifies the immigrants to young african men, coming from the sea. This immigration, stationary over the years, is also qualified as an invasion.

Europe retreat

In fact, as early as 2016, the entry of refugees, mainly syrians, from Turkey was stopped by the agreement of 18 march with Ankara. In exchange for a substantial package of economic assistance and political concessions, including a tolerance, not written for the turning point’s authoritarian president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey has assumed the role of policeman outside the european borders.

In 2017, the central corridor of the Mediterranean was closed by the agreements concluded by the Italian government with the government and local militias of the libyan. The arrivals by sea in Europe increased from 1 015 000 in 2015 to 114 000 in 2018. Nearly 90 % less ! At the same time, asylum requests have ebbed : 700 000 in 2017 ; 646 000 in 2018 ; 613 000 in 2019.

Rather than ” refugee crisis “, it should, therefore, speak of a ” crisis of the reception of refugees “. In 1999-2000, an EU smaller than today, had allowed the same number of asylum-seekers in 2015 – they came from Kosovo. Fifteen years later, public opinion scared and governments are uncertain, driven by populism, growing, chose to gradually ignore their humanitarian commitments. As shown by the violent push-back of migrants at the Greek-Turkish border in early march 2020, they have decided to retreat into a fortress Europe increasingly distant from their founding principles.


Three looks

The issue of immigration irks the Europe. In most countries, it fuels the fears and fed the populist rhetoric. It also carries the division within the european Union and exacerbating tensions between the governments. That is why, five years after the “migration crisis” of 2015, three daily newspapers have declined to investigate together on the situation of migrants in their respective countries. Avvenire (Italy), Nederlands Dagblad (The netherlands) and The Cross are media of christian inspiration rooted in three different companies.

By publishing in parallel during the whole of this week their stories respective, they offer an exchange of glances, a variety of approaches which enrich the apprehension of the real. They wish to facilitate the dialogue between the peoples and to be a hyphen, Naples to Amsterdam via Nice or Paris. This partnership also emphasizes the involvement of multiple people in the reception and assistance of migrants. For christians, this support comes in a fidelity direct to the gospel message.

Jean-Christophe Ploquin


“60 % of primary students will have careers that we don’t know yet “

The Cross : What are the skills and abilities to develop to integrate into the labour market in Europe ?

Nicolas Schmit : This of course depends on the job that one is looking for, but in a general way, it is always good to have a minimum of linguistic knowledge. Speak one or two european languages is, frankly, useful.

Mariya Gabriel : In addition to the basic knowledge – read, write, count, it is also necessary to acquire the digital skills base : today, they are needed in nine jobs out of ten. I also pleads that each one develops a critical mind, because misinformation is a phenomenon to which the young are not immune.

N. S. : Add an ” open attitude “, a desire for discovery, understanding, and a real capacity of adaptation. The idea of wanting to bring something by being prepared, also, to receive.

→ TO READ. The mobility of apprentices, an issue of franco-German

Within the EU, how can we ensure that skills are recognized beyond the national borders ?

Mr. G. : We are working on it ! But much remains to be done. We want to establish the european area of education. A flagship initiative will be to create alliances between european universities where the recognition of diplomas will be integrated from the outset. We give ourselves up to 2024 to work.

How skills evolve over time ?

Mr. G. : Very quickly, particularly because of new technology. Of occupations and skills that did not exist ten years ago are emerging and are a part of our vocabulary. We must remain open to these developments. Studies say that 60% of the students currently in primary school will have trades that we don’t know yet. The data managersall those people who know how to handle the data, ten years ago, no one had ever heard of it !

N. S. : There is a demand for profiles of highly qualified, especially in digital. It is necessary to increase the possibility for a growing number of people reclassify or acquire an additional qualification. This opens a lot of doors. The degree is one thing, but employers are interested in skills and availability of each and every one to obtain new.

The professional mobility, including through internships in another country, is it a way forward ?

Mr. G. : Actually. It is for this reason that the Erasmus + plans to increase the number of those who carry out a mobility in the framework of the vocational training. Adults, including those in situation of vulnerability, must be able to take advantage of it. We must allow all to move forward, to have a life project.

Is this a significant shift from the Erasmus programme ?

Mr. G. : In itself, the Erasmus programme is a great success. Ten million people have already benefited. In France, in 1987, the year of the launch, there were 895 participants, compared to over 95 000 in 2019 ! But the program is not yet come up at all.

N. S. : The Erasmus ” pro ” is very important, but it is more complicated than the academic program because when you go in a company, it raises questions of responsibility, insurance, social security, etc., We want to develop it because we know that an experience abroad is a great more that values professional training.

In Europe, the mobility does not concern, however, that 4% of the population…

N. S. : In the United States, the figures are not higher ! 4 %, this is not negligible. And anyway, mobility is a right, which should not become an obligation.

What it will look like the labour market in Europe in ten years ?

Mr. G : I try to imagine what will these jobs of the future, but nobody can say today. There may be need of experts in cyber security, from specialists who know how to control the drones, but at the same time, there will always be teachers, doctors. It is important to ensure that the human remains at the centre of the process it control.

N. S. : We are in a period of transition to digital, and environmental. To be honest, I never know how to respond to young people who ask me what they should study to be sure of having a job !

We can, in any case, from the assumption that person will no longer remain in the same employment all his life. Already now, there are periods where you learn all over again, where you are reclassifying. It is not necessary to see them as breaks.

Would you support the establishment of an agency of the european labour focal point the jobs ?

N. S. : This would be a bureaucratic monster, I’m reluctant. It was a system already in place today, Eures, which brings together thousands of offers.

Mr. G. : Centrally, it is the risk of growing inequality between those who have access to information and those who have not. In Europe, it is necessary to also focus on the local level and build regional ecosystems, taking into account the specificities of the territories, so that jobs and skills are the most suitable as possible.


The rescue operations of the” Ocean Viking ” cover in the Mediterranean

This is a crisis that the coronavirus and containment have completely passed under the radar. After three months of arrest, the vessel humanitarian Ocean Viking of the association SOS Mediterranean , the successor of the iconic Aquarius – went to sea Monday, June 22, in order to resume his rescues between Europe and Libya, as migrants continue to flee at the peril of their lives.

→ TO READ. The migrants abandoned in the Mediterranean

“There is a drastic increase of the departure “ and “our role is to save lives in the central Mediterranean, where there is a gap between Libya and the european countries “ who do not assume their rescue mission, down to edge Nicholas Romaniuk, which coordinates rescue operations at sea.

“It was not there, and people go through it anyway ! “

The latest data from the office of the High Commissioner united Nations for refugees (UNHCR) supports this finding. Between early January and late may, the attempts of crossings at the start of the Libya have increased by 150 %, compared to the same period last year.

“For years, it has been said that they were leaving because there were NGOS “ at sea, plague Nicholas Romaniuk, recalling that there are no more boat humanitarian was sailing in the area for several weeks during the pandemic. “It was not there, and we can now say categorically that people go through when even ! “

The return of theOcean Viking comes with an extra challenge : prevent the virus from spreading on the ship. For this, SOS Mediterranean has put in place a strict protocol, equipment almost surgical for marine-rescuers to a decontamination aboard, passing by places of isolation in containers in case of need.

Not to mention that the NGOS had to build up a medical team, after that its partner Médecins sans frontières (MSF) has slammed the door in April. A breakthrough is looming, however, over the course of the ship red and white flagged in norway who is scheduled to arrive off libyan waters on Thursday. The european borders reopened gradually.

Restart of european solidarity

The Sea-Watch 3the German NGO, Sea-Watch, and the Mare Jonio, of the Italian Mediterranea Saving Humans, are the first two boats to be returned to the area, respectively on 8 and 10 June. Thirteen days later, the Sea-Watch announced Sunday the transfer of 211 shipwrecked on a ferry in a port in sicily, where they will observe a quarantine. On the same day, the Mare Jonio announced that it had landed, also in Sicily, 67 people rescued the previous day.

→ TO READ. The Europeans let themselves die twelve people in the Mediterranean sea

“This is good news, we see the restart of a european solidarity “says Frédéric Penard, responsible for SOS Mediterranean. Before tempering : “so we are back to the situation prior to the Covid, where the landings can be decided on a case-by-case basis. This is not enough, because there is no automatic mechanism “.

A new “pact of migration” soon to be presented in Brussels

Since the signing of the preliminary agreement of The Valetta, which had helped draft last September, the terms of such a mechanism which would make automatic the reception of migrants in several european countries, Italy and Malta, in the first line, have their eyes glued to the pact of migration, which should be unveiled in the coming days in Brussels.

→ TO READ. European pact on migration, a project in the impasse

“This is an emergency. We hope that an effort will be made to a european system that protects, that integrates with and who is aware that these are not the rich countries that bear the brunt of the refugee reception “ in the world, ” said Paolo Artini, representative in France of the UNHCR.


With Erasmus +, the european Union wants to improve the jobs of tomorrow

“The Europeans are more likely than ever to live and work abroad, within the european Union “, highlights the final report of the Commission on the mobility of workers. In 2018, the EU had $ 17.6 million of citizens who have made this choice – including $ 12.9 million of working age (20-64 years), an increase of 3.4 % compared to 2017.

→ TO READ. The european Union creates an ” Erasmus of the religion “

In total, 4.2% of the population of the Eu is to work in a host State. And this number can still increase : mid-may 2020, Eures, the european network that connects job seekers and employers, accounted for nearly 2.8 million offers of vacancies in the whole of Europe.

To match supply and demand of employment

This figure shows that the unemployment is not due to economic difficulties, but also to the organisation of a system of initial training and throughout the life which is struggling to match supply and demand of employment.

In France, for example, 150 000 positions remain unfilled each year for lack of candidates with the right skills, according to Pôle emploi. At the other end of the chain, the Dares, the studies and statistics of the ministry of labour, estimated in 2018 to 963 000 the number of young people 16 to 25 years who are neither in education, nor in employment, nor in education or training, or almost 13% of this age class.

→ TO READ. Europe : how can young Europeans perceive the EU’s role in the health crisis ?

However, convergence of the skills and needs will be increasingly necessary to adapt to a technological progress that will permanently change the labor market. According to the ministry of national education, 65 % of the school children of today will be in the future, jobs that do not yet exist.

Promote a european area of training

This challenge, the european Union has taken to arm-the-body. Because if the organization of systems of education and training remains the prerogative of States, the EU competences are non-trivial to coordinate, support and supplement the actions of member countries. Thus, as early as 2010, the Commission proposed a framework of co-operation – “Education and training 2020” – setting some great targets to ten years, since the generalization of pre-school education to expanded access of young people to study or work placements abroad.

Similarly, the agenda for skills, presented in 2016, proposes a series of actions to improve the encounter of the demand and supply of employment. In particular, the establishment of a “warranty of skill “ to ensure that the public little qualified to a minimum level. Or the development of a common scale of qualifications, to facilitate comparisons between the member countries.

The Erasmus + is part of a strategy to increase the power of skills. First mobility : by 2018, more than 850, 000 students, apprentices, teachers and socio-educational instructors have received a grant for a stay abroad. Then, by promoting a european area for training innovative, capable of developing the know-how necessary for the jobs of tomorrow.

Accompany the areas in mutation

Among all those supported by the agence Erasmus + France, the project At Home is iconic. It concerns, in power, and the 8 million people working in Europe, in the sector of home help. “For this audience, of which 80 % are without any initial training, we have developed new tools to consolidate and validate the skills (according to the repository AEFA, european Agenda for the education and training of adults, editor’s NOTE) and, thus, develop a vital profession, but a victim of social exclusion “, highlights Sophie Alex-Bacquer, head of mission at the training institute of the Red Cross of New-Aquitaine.

Launched in 2017, with partners, belgian, Portuguese and Spanish universities, companies, services, At Home has led to the realization of a Mooc, so of course digital, which lists the major cross-cutting skills required, adapted to real-life situations, and offers tutorials to develop them. “This tool, developed in four languages, is free to access from November 2019, and the first experiences are very positive “, accurate Sophie Alex-Bacquer.

Prepare for the future, it is also accompany the sectors changing as the textile, clothing, leather and footwear, which accounted for 2 million jobs in the Union, for a turnover of € 200 billion.

A budget increase for Erasmus +

“Outsourcing, digitization and robotization are that skills needs are changing. The challenge is to train a maximum of operators, whose number will decrease, so be ready to occupy a portion of the 600,000 posts of technicians and engineers that are to be filled by 2025 “says Laurence Allois, and training manager job at Unitex, the federation of textile industries of Rhône-Alpes, and head of the project Skills4Smart for France.

→ TO READ. The mobility of apprentices, an issue of franco-German

Alliance of 22 partners from nine european countries, Skills4Smart was launched in early 2018 to facilitate this transformation by re-designing completely the supply of training. “We have defined the profiles of priority jobs and built a training content currently being tested via an online platform in ten countries. Ultimately, the goal is that they will be recognised throughout the EU, because the interest of the project is to build a european training and employment “, highlights Laurence Allois.

It acknowledges that such a project, if complex, involving a diversity of actors, probably would not have seen the light of day without the support of Europe and the support of Erasmus +.

This flagship program of the european Union, which has changed the lives of millions of young Europeans, should also see its envelope doubled to 28 billion euros in the framework of the budget 2021-2027. Sign that the Union is committed to investing in the skills and mobility, “stepping stones towards societies and economies more resilient and more inclusive “, according to the formula of Margaritis Schinas, commissioner responsible for the promotion of the european way of life.



1987 : Creation of the Erasmus programme. The Erasmus programme (European Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students) is established by the european economic Community in 1987. It is designed as a system of exchange of students and teachers between the universities and the great schools of Europe. The first year, 3 244 students in europe benefit from it.

2014 : The moult Erasmus +. Erasmus has long coexisted with programs, vocational training (Leonardo da Vinci), school education (Comenius), or to the youth. Since 2014, Erasmus + brings together all of these mobility programmes and partnerships. In addition to students, it applies to apprentices, trainers, job seekers, young graduates, students from kindergarten through high school.

2027 : Goal ambitious. While the member States of the EU discussed the financial framework for the period 2021-2027, the Commission proposes a doubling of the budget allocated to Erasmus + with a budget of 28 billion euros over seven years and a target of 12 million beneficiaries additional 10 million since 1987.


With Erasmus +, the european Union wants to improve the jobs of tomorrow

Five tools for a european labour market, more integrated

Europass. This digital platform free – renewed July 8 allows any european citizen to be his or her personnel record to enhance his qualifications, his skills, his experiences, in and out of the world of work. The portfolio Europass is recognized in 35 countries and available in 29 languages. Since the launch of the portal, in 2005, he created more than 150 million Europass.

The european qualifications Framework (EQF). This common system of classification in the 8 reference levels (according to the knowledge, skills, degree of responsibility) allows to compare the degrees and certifications awarded at the national level. Since January, the French frame of levels of qualification is modelled on the EQF.

Esco. Like a dictionary in 27 languages, this online portal identifies and describes the occupations, qualifications and skills in a language common to all employers and job seekers in the european labour market.

Skills Panorama. The new version of this site launched in 2012, offers accurate information and easy access on the evolution of the offer of employment by sectors or by professions, on a country-by-country, in the whole of Europe.

Eures. This multilingual portal and free you can file or see offers
employment anywhere in Europe, to submit his CV or to enquire about the conditions of life and work in such or such country.