It is not exactly a secret that the whole point of the “Conference on the Future of Europe” is to serve as a PR exercise for Emmanuel Macron to be re-elected as French President next year. In effect, the “#COFOE” also ends at the time of that election.
Beyond the “pro-European” rhetoric, it really is “business as usual” for the French government. For Paris, “pro-European” means whatever is in the interest of France, even if it comes at the detriment of other EU member states.
A good example of that is an “EU minimum wage”, which would create mass unemployment if applied stringently across the EU in poorer member states where employers need to have the ability to pay lower wages so to be able to exploit their biggest asset: that people are willing to work for less.
That is of no concern at all for the French government.
At the Conference on the Future of Europe in Toulouse on Saturday, Macron’s Prime Minister blatantly stated that an EU-wide minimum wage is “necessary at all costs”, adding it is was even a “priority”.
He also said:
“I’m going to be very concrete here, on the idea of a European minimum wage because we have countries with very different labour rights. (…) We are in an open area and the countries with the most advanced social policies are penalised.”
Anyone with a slight notion of France’s social spending is aware of how bloated it is and how great the scope for efficiency savings. Obviously, Macron and his allies are very keen to avoid such reform, and if that can happen by penalising poorer EU member states, that sounds like a great deal to the current French administration.
All in the name of “Europe”, of course.