On Tuesday 26 September 2017, French President Emmanuel Macron presented his ideas for a new EU. Speaking to students of the Sorbonne in Paris, he proposed a common budget for the Eurozone, greater European military cooperation, and a renewal of Franco-German friendship. But would his ideas work in practice?

Macron’s vision is bold and ambitious. He could be setting himself up for a humiliating defeat, but he’s willing to take the chance. This approach worked well for him in the French presidential election campaign, but can he do it again on the European stage? And what exactly would his plan entail? Der Spiegel has summarised the main points as follows:

  • A European budget for defence and foreign operations, with soldiers from EU countries being able to join other national armies.
  • A common budget for the 19 Eurozone countries, intended for investment and crisis situations.
  • Completion of the Single Market and harmonisation of taxes.
  • Greater co-operation between European intelligence agencies, a European Civil Protection Agency to help deal with natural disasters, and a common European border police.
  • A common EU programme for the training and support of refugees.
  • Raising the minimum price for greenhouse gas emissions.

What do you think of Emmanuel Macron’s EU plan? Will he be able to overcome resistance from sceptical countries? Will the European people agree? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: (C) / BigStock – palinchak

78 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • Ntinos Gotzis

      eu has become dictatorship, the only thing are promoting is corruption.

    • Mitsos Daniel

      Where’s the corruption in a plan that promotes security, harmonization of the currency you use in your life with the greater euro zone and better military cooperation – defense ? Wanna depend on the US for that matter at this present point ?

    • Ntinos Gotzis

      When you take in mind “Kallikratis” and what happened to all the small allocated villages after taking them their power of decision …

    • Rémi Martin

      Mitsos Daniel The problem is that you don’t unite peoples with a flag, a common currency and laws they didn’t vote for!

  1. Paul

    I was in Sorbonne area in 1981 when mitterand was inaugurated. ..street parties and euphoria abounded….but then reality struck….same will happen to macrons idealism…do not expect a weakened Merkel to come to his assistance

  2. Nikolas

    i support his plan. We need more leaders like him to boost the integration of EU.

  3. Paul X

    I think the more the heads of state of the dominant countries come out with their plan the more it alienates the smaller countries

    Everyone of the 27 countries should be entitled to put forward a “plan” and good luck in finding any two the same….and there you have the main failing of the whole EU concept

  4. Manuel Benevides

    It has the merit of raising some ideas for discussion! I suppose that a number of countries will consider most of them unacceptable!

  5. Αναγέννηση

    We need more Europe, creating a EU Defense Force funded by the ECB just as the US Military is funded by the US Fed Reserve. We need a centralized EU Finance Minister the manages the EU economy just as a National Finance Minister finances and manages the needs of the National economy through the national Economic Transfer Union . The EU institution of the ECB is a Federal European Institution that requires a EU Economic Minister with a EU Economic transfer Union to fund a all professional EU Defense Force to create a Fortress Europe against Turkish attacks through the British State Sponsored Turkish military invasion and occupation of EU member Cyprus since 1974 as well as the the EU Fortress thwarting all Turkish efforts with the Turkish State sponsored flood of illegal immigrants into the European Union which has cost Germany so far over the past 2 years €40 billion

    • Dino Boy Mican

      Strange that you should talk about immigration. Wasn’t it Greece that let in 1 mil a couple of years ago?

    • Dino Boy Mican

      And transfer union!!!! And war with Turkey. Great!

    • José Bessa da Silva

      I don’t want to be “united” with you. Sorry! Nothing personal, but parliaments with neo-nazis give me the creeps…

    • Mitsos Daniel

      You don’t wanna enjoy peace ? It’s what the unity you look down upon has offered . Neo nazis give me the creeps too. Just as much as nationalists

    • Ludwig Theile

      it seems that both of you are afraid of socialist authoritarian political systems with absolute priority nationals. That’s normal, have a look at the totalitarian Countries in the hand of the Red Mafia! Is like real Nazi Systems!

    • Rémi Martin

      Enjoy peace? Then call back all the europeans soldiers in the world, stupid!

    • Ludwig Theile

      Rémi Martin you are not a real person, you are Fake

  6. Jude De Froissard

    Some proposals are not realistic for many countries….therefore impossible to achieve. Because 27 different countries will never agree as one…..thet don’t have same mentality, same habits, same richness ,same motivations.

    • Hari Seldon

      As a minister in charge of the French economy he needed less than 12 months to make KO the French economy. What would be your guess: Haw much time would Mr. Macron need to make bankrupt the European economy?

    • Zap Van Der Berg

      My god the man has been in office less than a year, judge him when his term is over

  7. Anders Tilly

    They best I heard about Europe since 1980 when German Foreign minister Joscha Fischer, the Greens, was speaking about democracy in Europe after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.

  8. Петър Йовчев

    what I think Makaroni is better edition of his predecessors , young , not involved in the old political mafia , very active and hard., and right.

    • Mika Nowack

      And a lot of his present proposals are just ideas existing since a decade and that should have been used before; so it doesn’t matter if he’s a moron. What’s matter is that we have finally some positive ideas to discuss… Those who focus only on the person are the actual morons.

  9. José Bessa da Silva

    Terrible. Everything that means more integration in an ever more corrupt and undemocratic institution can not be anything but a terrible idea.

  10. Sebastian

    Those saying no, we are all different, it wont work, i feel this mentality is a result of western mentality of laziness and self isolation, children dont go out, and stay in their rooms on computer and TV, want to avoid problem and use drugs and alcohol to escape reality, these people want a separated union with closed borders, what the scared sheep dont realize is that while they want to separate, other are uniting, China, India, Russia and the Middle east, south America and Africa still have myriad problemsnwhich can escalate in no time, while madman US is running the show selling guns and threatening with “fire and fury”…. You have to realize maybe you are scared of a united europe, maybe it is difficult, different cultures etc…, but it CAN be done and the benefits far outweigh the negatives, infact i personally see a united europe (or rather the question of europe uniting or not) as the key to wether we will have world peace this century or WW3 and apocalipsis, and im convinced many think the same, dont be scared, dont be a coward! What if Columbus had listened to these people? Alexander the Great? Jesus? But they didnt, they defied the cowards, and now it is time for us to do the same, and either build the world of tomorrow or watch it fall around us, and sooner or later it will engulf us too, these same negative people say they think the chinese or russian regime will colapse (infact every country will colapse according to these negative people) ifso, you think europe wont be affected? What if nuclear power plants start collapsing? We all saw the damage of chernobyl and fukushima, imagine this x10, we have to say NO to this, NO to the devil…. I choose to say NO to all the naysayers, yes to president Macron and yes to a united europe, and i place my hope and faith in european leaders, and ill keep believing untill everything colapses

  11. Eric Prenen

    Excellent. Those that don’t like it can always pack their bags and move to Trumpistan. ;)

    • Shiva Elias Vishnu

      The US is the vassal state of Israel. Macron must pay his debts to Rothschild, Mario Draghi, the former managing director of Goldman Sachs is the President of the European Central Bank so, about what are you talking?

  12. Jochen Uecker

    Everything changes very dynamically onlythe politics is not ready for it. Finally, there is a courageous beginning which I will support. Indeed, the forces of insistence are very big and are very mighty.

  13. Amuna Raw

    I beleieve that it is the EU’s only option to stay together. Of course, this must be a long term commitment. He forgot to mention that cultural diversity must be respected and encouraged. If we look back, Europe was in peace only when we stood together; irrelevant the so called empires ( Greek, Roman, Austro-Hungarian etc.). The major issue is that we need to find a balance between the different cultures and languages. But this could be a trigger for succes if we knew how to harmonize only the functional areas, not the national herritages. Just saying.

  14. Björn Eric Ingemar Grahn

    Only a few short comings by example have an eu migration board that is under the Eu parliament that Handel the asylum process instead of a national level. That would save a lot of money and the parliament is mutch better that most national parliament that is to selfish in mind

    • Paul X

      Every country is “selfish” and only in the EU for what they can get out of it, and the ruling elite is only in it for their personal wealth and power

      This is clearly evident when the main focus for any country daring to leave is how much money the EU can screw out of them

  15. Yves V.

    In essence these idea’s are all likable.

    But the democratic defecit of the EU is NOT adressed. And as such will remain a nail on which populists can hammer. All the time.

    A EU defence is great and long overdue. But who will run this show? Who will have the authority to send European men and women to war and in harms way?

    Is an appointed comissioner democratic enough? Is he under enough democratic scrutiny of the men and women and their families he *could* send to war?
    (A commisioner is currently appointed. The EU parliament can only veto or accept the entire commission at it’s start and that is pretty much a point of no return)

    In fact, the entirety of the appointment of commissioners and the lack of democratic scrutiny on them as a whole should be adressed.

    Right now it is a source for populists to exploit.

    Furthermore all the powerwielding counsils and institutions should be streamlined. A cat would lose its cittens in the intertwined juridictions of the EU commission, the EU parliament, the council of Europe, the president of that council and the reprisentative for foreign affairs and I’m probably forgetting a few…

    It’s time for less is more.
    But I fail to see that in Macron’s ideas.
    (Juncker hinted at a few of these things during his last adress, but I guess Macron was not listening at that time)

  16. Rosy Forlenza

    some of them. France and Germany need to understand that they are not the EU, the EU is made of 27 – 26? I think the common response for natural disasters and eu oversight to hurry re-housing and getting regions back on their feet would be good, as the national govs concerned seem to be very slow in the aftermath at getting people back ont heir feet or zones or regions back on their feet, cooperation obviously on environment, refugees and terrorism. Who would control and EU army? Which governments decide to send their young people into risky situations and for whom? to whom would that be accountable? seconded to which foreign armies..the yanks? I think we do need to do something strategically and be less reliant (and therefore less interfered with by the U.S whose policies we have no say in), however we also need to respect neutral countries..what do ireland and sweden have to say? would they take up the slack if needed for UN duties then? ditto with common budgets, someone above said countries are very different, i think an agreed budget that allows for a range (range of vat, most people have around 23 per cent but up or down a couple of per centage should the need arise), what about corporation tax? small countries like holland ireland need to be able to do this, so again a range. this gives countries room for manoevre. what is not on the agenda here is support for small businesses and issues like banning zero hour contracts, more of this please. If people want to move country they need to set up businesses, and this is easier in some countries than others, so let’s learn from the countries it is easy in.

  17. Alves Henriques

    macron election was rigged by journalists soros and bad people. we need marine le pen in france.

  18. European

    Europe has reached a crossroad. In the next decade, the future of the EU will be decided…. for good or bad.

    There are high risks involved in further integration…. but the risk of waiting and doing nothing is even higher. Time is running away….. within the next few decades the emerging powers like China will become world dominating super powers. What little consideration the USA – a country that at least in theory shares similar values – has given European countries interests it can only get worse if powers like China, Russia, Brasil or India hold the same or even superior level of world influence.

    If Europe does not get “its act together” then the USA and all those other powers will simple exploit all those who are to weak to offer serious resistance. Which includeds all current and former members of the EU.

    Compared to China even Germany, widely considered the most powerful country in Europe, is nothing but a very tiny fish. And that would be perfectly fine if humanity would be enlightened.

    But I fear it is not. And little reason to be generous the emerging powers have, for the last century saw the west often being quite abusive, too.

    I would rather not swim in the shark pool… but if I am already in in and cannot leave it… I would much rather be a shark than being eaten myself. After all, I can restrain myself from doing bad things while at the same time avoiding other sharks doing bad things to myself.

    The European Project

    The economic union was always seen as a fundament for a ever closer union. Not only as a peace project but also born out of vested self interest. The end goal is, and has always been some sort of european state because that is what pro europeans believe is the final culmination of said vested self interest. Because they see a european state as the only way to defend the interests of their people on the global stage of the 21th century, and I think chances are high that they are right.

    While this would be a somewhat loss of national sovereignity, it is still much better to transfer that sovereignity to an entity that consist of you and your neighbours – who by nature have similar interests and even more importantly, tend to suffer with you if you suffer – then to call yourself sovereign if in fact due to your own limited size and influence all you can do realistically is to choose to whom you will bow. Personally, before I have to bow before Trump, Putin or Jinping I would rather bow before Brussels.

    Not only out of more general sympathy but also in the knowledge that since the EU consists of nothing but my neighbours that chances of them doing anything that affects me substantially negative are rather low. Because again due to being geographically very close together they have a vested self interest in not causing me to suffer in the first place.

    Unlike the USA, Russia and China who dont face any particular issues if we suffer a lot. And might even benefit from it because it is not like I am going to paddle over the Atlantic.

    Very long text about why I think it is our self interest:

    The cold reality is that our world is not a nice place. In a world where other nations have little if any ethical concerns about fucking you and your people over if that happens to suit their – real or imagined – interests.

    And that in a world where other nations often have little ethical concerns about fucking your people over very hard, you need to be at least a big enough fish to avoid “going to the dogs”. To much.

    I will fully admit that this world view is cynical and disgusting. But as much as I like to be wrong and want to believe in an enlightened humanity just as much I fear that I am right about this.

    The 20th century is over. The West enjoyed global superiority in it due to a major technological advantage. But this is is the past and not the present. The future belongs to huge power blocks like China.

    The reality is that not a single one of the european countries is influential enough to even halfway defend its interest and with that its people on the world stage of the 21th century. And again, if humanity would be enlightened, that would be no issue. But it – sadly – is not.

    So… if even Germany is incapable of protecting its interest against the USA – a country that in theory shares similar values and has at least somewhat interest in our well being (theoretically), what would you guess how this will end up with China and similar powers?

    Unless they are truely enlightened human beings… not well.

    This is already a dim prospect for a 80 million people nation. What prospect is it for a smaller nation? Like Slovakia? With a population of 5.5 million? No matter how highly developed you are, you begin to run into quantity issues.

    So, cooperating and haggling over their interests internally first and then defending them externally with a unified voice has a much higher success ratio against the rest of the world.

    Slovika trying to protect its interest against China? The Chinese Delegation will spend their entire flight home chuckling about the demands of the little man. If they send one in the first place, that is. Slovakian interests speaking through the European Union? 446 million people? Second largest economic power in the world? Try to ignore that without facing painful repercussions.

    Of course, on the other side of the medal, it is that there is no denying that even within the EU Slovakia is still just a small country. And that this puts a natural limit on its influence. Yet, I would seriously argue that even with its still limited influence, this is the realistically best deal Slovakia can possible get. And while its interests would occasionaly get overturned the basic fact that it is their neighbours that make those decisions in the first place makes it far less likely that any large damage is done.

    The simple fact is that interests are often simple geographically based. And by sheer geographic closeness and temporarly ignoring the ethical side, the well being of the Slovak people is quite simple a interest of Germany. I am significantly closer to Bratislava than to Hamburg, food for thought, isnt it?

    It always regrettable when your interests get the short stick. Yet, it is unavoidable in the scale where modern human civilisation operates. Germany was once divided into more than 300 mini nations. Yet, I never could find a single person who wants to go back to that.

    But why? Would it not be awesome if the city of Garching (16000 people) would be a sovereign state that could do anything it wanted to do?

    In theory its awesome… in practise you soon realize that 90 % of the things you can do as a sovereign state but not as a city in a sovereign state are things you either cannot do physically in the first place

    Military Grandpower Garching… the world trembles in fear… or was it laughing?

    or are things that disturb you from the more mundane things… like city management, traffic and such. Things that most of your citizens are far more interested in than some illusion of grandeur.

    No, it is much better to let the big issues be decided on a level where the decision actually means something. And as long as there is still democracy behind that, I dont see a problem with that, even if it occasionally means to get the short end of the stick.

    The Federal Republic of Germany occasionally makes decisions that are not necessarly in the best interests of the Free State of Bavaria. Yet, the bavarian party wanting to make Bavaria a sovereign state outside of Germany enjoys about as much popular support as haemorrhoids. Appearantly, the vast majority of Bavarians, myself included, beliefs that the benefits of being a federal state of Germany by far outweight the costs. A decision democratically reinforced every 5 years.

    Of course, the free will of the people has to be respected. And if by democratic vote, the Bavarians should choose to quit the Federal Republic, that is their right. Dont see that happening though.

    Back to the EU. Being a member means, that occasionaly your interests will be overturned. That is the nature of any large organisation.The only question is do the benefits of being inside outweight the disadvantages? If yes, why should I vote to leave this mutually beneficial arrangement?

    Our entire modern cilvilization is based arround compromise and balancing of interests. All human beings have been or are part of a family. So if there is a disagreement about todays plan, how does a normal family solve this issue? By beating each other to pulp until there is only one survivor? Hardly a reasonable or productive solution that also will destroy the family. Much better to discuss it out…. and while not everybody will be completly happy about the outcome, it is a million times better than the alternative. And unlike the alternative, it does not destroy the family.

    The EU is similar, just on a much larger scale. Yes, all those meetings are painstakingly long and take ages to produce results, but that is because getting 27 countries into a compromise that does not make anyone pissed of seriously simple takes time.

    Europe has to be a strong democratic union. Democracy is not negotiatable.

    A democratic european state is in my opinion the best – and possible only – way into a bright future. Like in all democracies, this means that occasionally some side gets the short end of the stick. So when SlovakiaEU gets more democratic votes in the European Parliament than GermanyEU idea, then Slovakias idea shall be implemented, even if it means that GermanyEU get the short end of the stick. All reasonable Germans would find consolation in the fact that this minor drawback is well worth the huge advantages otherwise enjoyed.

    If the EU fails….. the lack of world influence will reduce the standard of living of its people….. populists will quickly move in and spread hate against fellow european nations…. war – that we all hoped to have exstincted inside Europe – would be very real possibility as the hardening fight about pieces of a smaller and smaller cake makes spreading hate so much easier.


    Does anyone really want to go back to 4m of barbwire and armed guards in guntowers?

    I dont.

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      This posting was far too short and far too succinct.

      Would you please kindly elaborate and explain your points in detail next time…

  19. Marcel

    What a terrible plan. Of course it’s easy to summarise his real intention in one sentence: get Germany to pay for the unfunded French contingent liabilities (pensions). That is what it is about, the French are as usual in it for themselves.

  20. catherine benning

    What do you think of Emmanuel Macron’s EU plan?

    Macron’s plan is a betrayal of all French people stand for. And have stood for since their revolution. It is, or, was, a country of social justice. His plan takes them from a country devoted to social values to an ethos that will reduce them to the equivalent of slaves.

  21. randomguy2017

    In the current situation no. The plan is bad.
    In the future maybe.

    -Reach out to Eastern Europe (including big bad Russia).
    -Be democratic in practice, not just in theory
    -No nations should dominate, atm it is German-French domination (with some involvement from America).

  22. Manuel

    EU sollte nicht noch mehr reduziert werden auf Wirtschaft! Erstrecht sollten Finanzminister niemals FührungsMacht haben.
    Es braucht Eu der Werte – angefangen bei einer Verfassung, welche aufbaut auf MENSCHENRECHTE. Dazu gehört ebenfalls Recht auf Privatsphäre und Datenschutz! Gerade zunehmende Überwachung ist zu beklagen und mehr Sicherheitskräfte richten sich gegen arme Menschen mit geringen Vergehen.
    Davon abgesehen ist der VerwaltungsApparat schon heute zu aufgebläht!
    Falls “Neugründung / EU” dann bitte mit_
    + direkte Demokratie, Vorbild Schweizer VolksEntscheid
    + Verfassung + Menschenrechte
    + SchuldenSchnitt europaweit auf 1 Mal steht an!
    + Armeen sollen Entwicklungshilfe dienen, Schwerter zu Pflugscharen, FriedensArmee.
    + kostenfreies Studium für jeden EuBürger!
    + bedingungsloses GrundEinkommen BGE!
    …also humane Ausrichtung wäre am wichtigsten!

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