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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Friday, December 15, 2017

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Macron claims Europe needs to relaunch, unite to succeed

Speech at European Parliament

Share on Facebook September 27, 2017, Reporter : BNN, Reader : 398

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PARIS, France - Delivering a nearly two-hour speech at the Sorbonne, French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled his vision for Europe - claiming the bloc needs to relaunch itself.

Macron urged the EU to work more closely on defense and immigration.

He said that on issues as diverse as asylum, border protection, corporate tax, intelligence sharing, defense and financial stability it needed much deeper cooperation.

He said, “The only path that assures our future is the rebuilding of a Europe that is sovereign, united and democratic. At the beginning of the next decade, Europe must have a joint intervention force, a common defense budget and a joint doctrine for action.”

During his presidency campaign, Macron made European reform a central plank of his centrist campaign.

On Tuesday,Macron also called on the euro zone to have its own budget.

Macron even detailed some specific ideas for an improved euro zone.

Emphasizing the need for democratic accountability, Macron said, “A budget can only go hand-in-hand with strong political leadership led by a common (finance) minister and a strong parliamentary supervision at the European level.”

Experts have pointed out that Macron would have to struggle to implement the ideas he has proposed.

The speech also came at a time when Germany might be looking inward, following the German election in which Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU bloc scored its worst result since 1949.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a senior member of the Social Democrats (SPD), hailed Macron’s speech as “a passionate plea against nationalism and for Europe.”

Gabriel, whose party has ruled out being part of a new grand coalition said, “He can count on us.”

Alexander Lambsdorff, an FDP member in the European Parliament, said on Twitter in reaction to Macron’s speech, “You don’t strengthen Europe with new pots of money.”

FDP in Berlin issued a statement later, in which Lambsdorff said, “The problem in Europe is not a lack of public funds, but the lack of reform. A euro zone budget would set exactly the wrong incentives.”

Commenting on the German election, Macron set an objective that the two countries completely integrate their markets and corporate rules by 2024.

He said of Merkel, “We share the same European ambitions and I know her commitment to Europe. I‘m proposing to Germany a new partnership. We will not agree on everything, not immediately, but we will discuss everything.”

Meanwhile, Martin Selmayr, the chief of staff of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, said the proposals to reinforce the euro zone would be discussed alongside Juncker’s own at a euro zone summit in December.

Further, Italy’s EU affairs minister, Sandro Gozi, said the speech would inspire European leaders into action.

Adding, “An excellent speech by Emmanuel Macron on reviving the European Union. Let’s work on this together, starting tomorrow at the Lyon Summit,” referring to a meeting of the Italian and French leaders to discuss industrial policy.

 

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