Macron's Reforms Won't End in France
Emmanual Macron's speech at the Sorbonne University in Paris was described by German Chancellor Angela Merkel as full of "European passion." In his speech, Macron emphasized his pro-European stance and presented a series of reforms that he envisions taking place over the next ten years. The reforms include an integration of the EU's military in the form of a "rapid reaction force." He calls for the creation of an EU finance minister as well as a unified budget and a parliament.
There have been criticisms of Macron's call for greater European unity, with some critics finding the timing of his speech inappropriate. It has been less than a week since the Bundestag election. Chancellor Merkel is in the process of realigning her support, making her response to Macron's calls for a stronger Europe tepid. Her spokesperson, Steffen Siebert told reporters that it was "too early for a detailed assessment" of Macron's reform plans.
Another critique involves the push being made by Macron to decrease the size of the European Commission from 28 members to 15. Such a move could limit the voice of smaller nations. Overall critics see Macron's reforms as being beneficial for France economically and in terms of trade.
But Macron's speech touched on areas beyond economics and military concerns. He also shared his vision of a Europe in which young people study in other European countries and are awarded European diplomas from European universities. He shared his vision of a "European agency for disruptive innovation" and the creation of a European Intelligence Agency.
Macron is looking to Germany for reform support but Merkel has not provided a German endorsement. Instead European leaders will discuss their vision of the EU's future in Estonia, where they are meeting at a summit on the digital age.
Macron's reforms in France are strategically tied to his proposed reforms of the EU. Observers and analysts note that Macron is looking to establish a strong Franco-German partnership that could make other EU nations ill at ease. Now that Macron has put forward his European vision with enthusiasm, other EU leaders must respond to his proposals. The result will be discussions and debates on sovereignty, union and democracy.
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