Emmanuel Macron puts forward his vision for post-Brexit European Union

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Series Details April 2018
Publication Date 17/04/2018
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France's President Emmanuel Macron addressed the plenary session of the European Parliament on 17 April 2018. In his speech, he laid out his vision for the future of the European Union.

One of Macron's focal points in his speech was the rise of nationalism throughout Europe demonstrated by Brexit but also by the increasing number of EU member states electing nationalist leaders. As regards this topic, Macron believes that the European democracy is better than authoritarian democracy.

In his speech, he mentioned his proposal for the EU's monetary union. Macron would like to reform the monetary union with the creation of a European Budget as well as the appointment of a European Finance Minister. This proposal was met with some resistance from Germany. Indeed, the German finance minister, while agreeing with Macron's reforms also said that not all of his ideas could be realized. Other measures included among others a EU-wide initiative to integrate refugees and immigrants, greater cooperation on security and defence and the creation of a new digital tax for giant technology companies.

In the discussion following the speech, Macron also exposed his views of what the relations between the EU and the United Kingdom should be like post-Brexit. Macron pointed out that changes needed to be made to the EU budget due to the UK's withdrawal. While he showed willingness to increase France's contribution, he also argued that there should be budget rebates for some member states. As regards the relationship between the EU and the UK after Brexit, Macron would like to keep the country close to the EU if the UK respects the four freedoms of the EU single market.

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker praised the speech but was also quick to remind MEPs that the EU was an ensemble and not only the axis between France and Germany.

He made this speech at a time when the EU was getting ready for the next parliamentary election. While Macron's En Marche party was still not represented at the European Parliament, it was expected to gain numerous seat after the poll in May 2019.

Related Link(s)
Euro|topics, April 2018: Can Macron get Europe to reform? http://www.eurotopics.net/en/197840/can-macron-get-europe-to-reform
BBC News, 17.04.18: France's Macron: EU in 'civil war' over democracy http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-43794856
Deutsche Welle, 17.04.18: France's Emmanuel Macron calls for revival of EU democracy http://www.dw.com/en/frances-emmanuel-macron-calls-for-revival-of-eu-democracy/a-43415579
ECFR [Commentary]: Macron Takes Aim at European Politics https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_macron_takes_aim_at_european_politics
EUObserver, 13.04.18: Germany pours cold water on euro reforms https://euobserver.com/economic/141596
EUObserver, 16.04.18: Macron relaunches his bid for EU leadership https://euobserver.com/political/141613
EurActiv, 10.04.18: En Marche aiming to take out the EPP https://www.euractiv.com/section/elections/news/en-marche-aiming-to-take-out-the-epp/
EurActiv, 16.04.18: Not all Macron’s EU reforms possible, German finance minister says https://www.euractiv.com/section/banking-union/news/not-all-macrons-eu-reforms-possible-german-finance-minister-says/
European Parliament: Press Release, 17.04.18: Macron defends the idea of European sovereignty http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20180411IPR01517/
France 24, 17.04.18: Macron calls for 'European sovereignty' to combat authoritarianism in speech at European Parliament http://www.france24.com/en/20180417-live-france-macron-eu-reform-european-parliament-speech-brexit-strasbourg
Politco, 17.04.18: 4 takeaways from Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Parliament https://www.politico.eu/article/4-takeaways-from-french-president-emmanuel-macrons-visit-to-european-parliament/
Politico, 17.04.18: Macron, in European Parliament, urges EU to seize chance to reform https://www.politico.eu/article/macron-in-european-parliament-urges-eu-to-seize-chance-to-reform/
Reuters, 16.04.18: Macron effect stirs EU parliament ahead of elections https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-eu-parliament-macron/macron-effect-stirs-eu-parliament-ahead-of-elections-idUKKBN1HN25S
Reuters, 16.04.18: Merkel allies limit her room on euro zone reform before Macron meeting https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-europe-eurozone-germany/merkel-allies-limit-her-room-on-euro-zone-reform-before-macron-meeting-idUKKBN1HN0XM
EurActiv, 17.04.18: Macron offers half-hearted defence for waning eurozone push https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/macron-offers-half-hearted-defence-for-waning-eurozone-push/
EurActiv, 17.04.18: Macron takes charm offensive to Strasbourg https://www.euractiv.com/section/elections/news/macron-takes-charm-offensive-to-strasbourg/
Euro|topics, April 2018: Eurozone: Macron's reform plans hit resistance http://www.eurotopics.net/en/197840/eurozone-macron-s-reform-plans-hit-resistance
CAPX, 20.04.18: Macron and the federalists are losing Europe’s battle of ideas https://capx.co/macron-and-the-federalists-are-losing-europes-battle-of-ideas/
European Commission: Discours du Président Jean-Claude Juncker à la plénière du Parlement européen à l'occasion du débat sur l'avenir de l'Europe avec Emmanuel Macron, Président de la République française http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_SPEECH-18-3402_fr.htm

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