France and Germany to make joint proposal for future of Europe

French President Emmanuel Macron. Brussels, Thursday. [European Council]

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday (22 June) that together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he would submit concrete proposals for the future of the EU and the eurozone in three months’ time.

At his first summit presser, Macron was asked about the way forward in Franco-German cooperation. The international press has already dubbed the couple Merkel-Macron “Mercron” or “Merkron”.

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The French president explained that this was not aimed at alienating other EU members, but to present joint positions, and when differences between Paris and Berlin exist, to solve them instead of exposing them “to broad daylight”.

“When France and Germany disagree, it is unlikely that European issues move forward,” he said, adding that bilateral cooperation was also a way to save time.

As an example, he said that France and Germany had presented joint amendments to the draft conclusions of the present summit.

In addition, he said that France and Germany aimed at a joint roadmap for the necessary changes to the functioning of the EU and of the Eurozone. The effort is expected to produce concrete proposals in three months’ time, he said.

This seems to feed into the process of redefining the EU after Brexit, for which the European Commission is submitting discussion papers, and is expected to share the results in December.

“This effort will feed into the constant strategic dialogue we are having,” Macron said, adding that he will visit Germany again, ahead of the 7-8 July G20 summit in Hamburg. He also said that he will meet with Merkel also on the occasion on the 1 July ceremony in Strasbourg honouring Helmut Kohl.

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EU leaders hailed as “historic” the decision taken at the Council summit on Thursday (22 June) to establish permanent European defence cooperation. French President Emmanuel Macron, for whom this is the first EU summit, praised Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker for his role as architect of the project.

Asked what was more difficult to reform, the EU or France, Macron said that in the French context, the government would deliver on the promises he made during his election campaign.

“I do not underestimate the doubts, the anger which undoubtedly will manifest themselves. But I also know that the French people firmly decided on this transformation,” he said.

Regarding Europe, he said that the role of France was important and could change many things.

“France should serve as an example, for itself and for the others. France must say clearly what it wants, and this is what I tried to do this morning,” he said, referring to the interview he gave to journalists of several big national newspapers published on Thursday.

Macron reaffirms hope for EU ahead of first summit

On the eve of his first European summit (22-23 June), French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed his belief in a Europe capable of transforming the world with France as a driving force.

“Europe moves forward only when we achieve a common impetus, when we convince our partners, when we create positive consensus, and when we get away from the deadly dilemma of the unnecessary inefficient talk on the one side, and on the other side, of the solitary jibes. I believe in the common construction, in the capacity to convince and in creating a collective project to move forward. And this is Europe. This is its salt. This is what we must regain.”

Macron didn’t mention by name the Visegrád countries, who oppose the relocation of migrants. But he repeated: “Solitary battles end up in solitude.”