PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron highlighted the aims of his country's Presidency of the Council of the European Union during a plenary session of the European Parliament (EU) in Strasbourg, France.
According to reports, Macron stated that the EU has the capability and resources to be a significant player in the international arena. France aspires to "build together a European power of the future... an autonomous Europe that has given itself the tools to decide its own future without relying on the decisions of other big nations," he declared, as he takes the helm of the EU Council.
The French EU Council Presidency will promote and safeguard "weakened" values such as democracy, solidarity, and respect for the rule of law, he said. Macron also suggested that the EU include environmental protection and women's right to abortion in its Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Macron stated that the rule of law should be strengthened "through discussion" in order to "convince people who have gone away from it again." He said that the French Presidency would deliver on solidarity, with new texts on topics such as employment, gender pay disparities, and anti-discrimination to be submitted or adopted in the coming weeks.
He said that the EU must address the challenges posed by climate change and the digital transformation in order to ensure that progress benefits all EU citizens.