The European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) in the European Parliament has criticised French President Emmanuel Macron’s “grand” vision for the European Union reform – as he outlined during a speech at the Sorbonne university in Paris on September 26.

“At the beginning of the next decade, Europe should thus be equipped with a common intervention force, a common defence budget, and with a common doctrine to act,” said Macron.

ECR co-chairs Ryszard Legutko and Syed Kamall both expressed their disappointment.

“This was a speech steeped in symbolism and an attempt to re-inspire the European project – but, is  it just more smoke and mirrors and more slogan driven politics to disguise the lack of solutions to the challenges the EU faces,” said Legutko.

In turn, Kamall said the ECR welcome anyone from across the political spectrum who talks about the need for EU reform.

“We want to see an EU that goes in a new direction, does less but does it better,” said Kamall. “Sadly, what President Macron talked about was more Europe, further integration, more agencies. That’s not what the EU needs or what voters across the EU want.”