‘Don’t strengthen Europe with new pots of money’ Macron's EU proposals under microscope

Posted on Sep 28 2017 - 11:23pm by admin

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Macron outlined his vision for Europe in a speech on Monday

The French president outlined a wrath of proposed changed to strengthen the block in a huge announcement earlier this week.

Much of the plans need backing from fellow Euro giant giant Germany if they are to materialised.

In Berlin, a spokesperson for chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed Mr Macron’s “European passion” but that it was “too early” to comment on the proposals.

Although Mrs Merkel has backed Mr Macron in the past, some of her potential coalition partners slammed his ideas.

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Even ally Angela Merkel hasn’t responded warmly to his ideas

Alexander Lambsdorff from the liberal Free Democrats, which is set to go into government with Merkel, tweeted: “You don’t strengthen Europe with new pots of money”

And much of the rest of Europe is yet to comment on the sometimes abstract ideas the French President proposed on Monday.

In his speech, Mr Macron stepped down his ambitious plans to reform and strengthen the single currency area, and concentrated instead on a proposal to create a eurozone budget. He also proposed a timetable to move the ideas ahead.

Ms Merkel did say recently she could agree to a “limited” eurozone budget that would help countries help themselves.

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Mr Macron wants a Europe wide defence team

You don’t strengthen Europe with new pots of money

Alexander Lambsdorf

However, writing for Politico, Nicholas Vinocur doesn’t think these ideas will “see the light of day before the 2019 elections”.

One of the president’s bolder ideas was a European “intervention force”. 

He said: “In terms of defence our aim must be that Europe is capable of autonomous action”.

Such a force would have to be up and running within three years, and have its own budget and mandate to act.

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Macron gave his speech in the famous Sorbonne University

However, he neglected to mention that the EU already has its own “intervention force” in the form of EU battlegroups.

Battlegroups have 1,500 soldiers and are designed to be deployed with 10 days notice for 30-120 days. 

These groups have never actually gone into battle, partly because of the logistical nightmare for getting all countries to approve a mission and rules of engagement. 

The 39-year-old also proposed a European defence budget, but did not say where the funds would come from, and would the money fund operations or just research and equipment purchases.

While the EU already has a law enforcement cooperation agency, Europol, the French president has called for “a European intelligence academy to strengthen links between our countries.” But again, no specific details were given on this.

Mr Macron also said that while the EU should remain open for trade to the world, the bloc should push for “reciprocity”, meaning that if the EU is open for foreign exports and investors, those countries should accept EU exports and investors.

He proposed a new “European trade prosecutor, responsible for making sure our competitors play by the rules and for punishing speedily any unfair trading practices”.

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Macron’s proposals received a lukewarm reception

Mr Macron also wants to increase EU powers of security and “to establish a European prosecutor office for terrorism and organised crimes”.

He also called for a boost for funding towards the fight against terrorism and to shut down online terrorism propaganda, and to boost the EU’s role in cybersecurity.

Following on from the egg scandal over the summer, Mr Macron wants to “establish a European force for investigation and control to fight against fraud, guarantee food safety, [and] assure quality standards everywhere in Europe”.

And finally, Mr Macron has proposed taking the UK’s 73 seats in the European Parliament and creating a pan-European list of MEPs after Brexit.

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Mr Macron also proposed reducing the number of EU Commissioners from 28 to 15

The largest group in the Parliament, the European People’s Party, say that they would widen the gap between EU citizens and politicians.

The French leader also proposed slashing the number of European commissioners from 28 to 15, and that the EU’s founding members should give up their representatives.

He said: “We will set the example. It will allow us to gather all expertise, rather than to fragment it.”

This idea has been mooted before and in 2013 was voted down.

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