Macron Lays Out Plans for Eurozone Overhaul and Common Defense

Emmanuel Macron, president of France
French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday delivered his roadmap for reforming the European Union and Eurozone as he pushed for the “refounding” of a “sovereign, united and democratic Europe” and greater integration among the member states.

Mr. Macron was expected to detail plans for overhauling the EU that include a dedicated finance ministry, parliament, Eurozone budget, and a full-fledged monetary fund building on the existing European Stability Mechanism.

Speaking at the Sorbonne university in Paris, Mr. Macron further called for the formation of a European defense fund to combat a “sustained terrorist phenomenon,” the sharing of soldiers between EU nations’ armies, and a bloc-wide intelligence academy and prosecutor’s office against terrorism.

“In the coming decades, Europe will have to have a common intervention force, a common budget and a common doctrine to act,” he said.

He said the intervention force should be operational in the next decade. He also called for a Europe-wide police force and biometric immigration database.

Against the backdrop of this week’s German elections – in which the rightwing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party made gains at the expense of traditional centrist and center-left parties –  Mr. Macron said the EU reforms were especially necessary to limit the rising power of rightwing populism in Europe.

“The sad, dark passions of Europe are still with us, reaffirming themselves, and are successful in lying to the people about the cohort and pain of the tragedy … we have made that possible,” Mr. Macron said.

“They are lying to our populations and we should be the ones making new proposals for Europe,” he added.

Mr. Macron’s goals for reforming the EU and Eurozone build on the plans of his predecessors, Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. They also depend on the support of the French president’s staunchist ally in Europe, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who recently signaled some agreement with the plans. Ms. Merkel said on Monday she would not rule anything out.

Ms. Merkel will however have to work with pro-EU parties at home to form a coalition after Sunday’s election. Although her party won, her traditional allies, the Social Democratic Party, said they would not re-enter government with the chancellor’s Christian Democratic Union, leaving Ms. Merkel to work with the others, including liberal Free Democratic Party that opposes Mr. Macron’s plans for the EU.