Paris, Jan 20 (IANS): Addressing the European Parliament's (EP) plenary session in Strasbourg, France, French President Emmanuel Macron outlined the priorities of his country's Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU).
The EU, Macron said, has the capability and resources to be a powerful actor in the international community, Xinhua news agency reported.
At the helm of the EU Council, France intends to "create together a European power of the future ... an independent Europe that has given itself the means to decide its own future and not rely on the decisions of other major powers," he said.
The French EU Council Presidency will promote and protect the values "that are being weakened," he said, naming democracy, solidarity and respect for the rule of law.
Macron also said that the EU should add to its Charter of Fundamental Rights the protection of the environment and women's right to abortion.
Macron said he wished to see the rule of law reinforced "in dialogue" in order to "convince people again who have drifted away from it."
He said that the French Presidency would deliver on solidarity, with new texts being presented or adopted in the coming weeks on topics such as employment, gender gap in pay or the fight against discrimination.
To make sure that progress benefits all EU citizens, the bloc must face the challenges posed by climate change and the digital transition, he said.
France will push for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and mirror measures in commercial agreements, he said. A "One Ocean" summit will be held in February to strengthen the protection of marine biodiversity, Macron recalled.
France also wants to preserve peace through a better migration policy and better neighborly relations. Relationships with Africa, the Western Balkan countries, and Russia will be at the heart of the French presidency.
"We will continue to seek a political solution to the conflict in Ukraine," he said, and "will ensure that Europe makes its united and strong voice heard on the question of strategic armaments." He called for a "European proposal building a new order of security and stability."
He also said that the EU must find a "path of trust" with the United Kingdom in a post-Brexit era.