Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron called for reforms that will bolster European unity amidst an evident political crisis.
Macron urged for a proper political debate as the EU walks towards is first European elections since the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016.
Macron urged for a European programme that would fund local communities and help integrate refugees. it’s time for European leaders to “listen to the anger” and defend the EU model, Macron argued.
Commenting on recent electoral results in Hungary and Italy, Macron called for a defense of European democracy, making the case that “the answer is not authoritarian democracy, but the authority of democracy.”
Macron asked EU leaders to defend the “unique” EU model of democracy and quit blaming Brussels for national policy failures.
Reflecting on the widening gap between Europe and the United States, Macron regretted the fact that Washington is moving away from multilateralism, free trade, and the fight against climate change.
This was Macron’s second most important speech on Europe after Sorbonne, delivered in November 2017, where he called for a eurozone budget and an EU finance minister, as well as an EU-wide “federal” authorities corporate taxation and innovation policy. At the time, he also called for a single European asylum authority as well as an EU rapid reaction force.
Tuesday’s speech comes in the aftermath of a revolt within the Christian Democratic party (CDU) in Germany, which seeks to limit Chancellor Merkel’s support for the Macron agenda. On Monday, CDU’s deputy parliamentary leader, Katja Leikert, called for a parliamentary group meeting aiming to limit Angela Merkel’s mandate to negotiate on Macron’s stated objectives.
The main concern for the Christain Democrats is ensuring that EU member states retain sovereign liability for their public debt, avoiding mutualisation. “Financial aid will only be granted with strict conditions,” the proposal for debate reads.
The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, hailed Macron’s speech with a “true France is back,” although he warned that the EU is an “ensemble” that cannot be dominated by the Franco-German axis.