France's Macron Seeks EU Joint Armed Forces

France's Macron Seeks EU Joint Armed Forces”

Weakened mainly because of a far-right surge in German federal election, Angela Merkel will face serious challenges in promoting deeper European integration with French President Emmanuel Macron, experts have said.

"The Europe that we know is too weak, too slow, too inefficient", he said.

Along with Brexit and the German elections, Macron's proposals are likely to top the agenda at a two-day summit of all 28 European Union members in Estonia from Thursday.

Macron said that the aim of a joint military force is that the European Union would be able to act autonomously.

Macron said the eurozone needs a stronger budget and consideration should be given to funding it with a specific tax.

He said: "An excellent speech by Emmanuel Macron on reviving the European Union". "We need more mechanisms to stabilize against monetary shocks". This budget would at some point need to come from national budgets of countries sharing the euro currency, for instance using domestic taxes on businesses.

Only the eurozone, "with a strong and worldwide currency", can provide the basis for a globally competitive European economy, Macron argued.

As well as his eurozone budget idea, he wants to see the appointment of a eurozone finance minister and the creation of a rescue fund that would preemptively help countries facing economic trouble.

The party is set against a eurozone budget or any facility that may lead to financial transfers from wealthier eurozone countries to poorer ones, as well as the possibility of national debt being pooled.

This "vision" for a more powerful European Union comes in the midst of fierce political battles in nearly every member country over how big a role the bloc should play in regular citizens' lives.

Merkel herself said Monday she wouldn't rule anything out and that she is in touch with Macron about his plans.

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, a senior member of the Social Democrats (SPD), hailed Macron's speech "a passionate plea against nationalism and for Europe". Merkel has spoken of a budget with a "smaller sum".

The French president suggested that European countries should integrate even MORE as Britain prepares to quit the EU. "It weakens all Europe".

One Elysee official said a eurozone budget, one of Macron's most contentious ideas, would be "necessary in due course" and that the president would therefore raise the issue in his speech, to be delivered at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

He later said: "The problem in Europe is not a lack of public funds, but the lack of reform".

"In this union re-centred around intransigent values and an efficient market, in a few years the United Kingdom will be able, if it so wishes, to find its place".

Macron plans to discuss his proposals with all leaders of European Union member states that are interested in the integration process by the end of the year. "Let's move Europe forward!"

"You don't strengthen Europe with new pots of money", Alexander Lambsdorff, an FDP member in the European Parliament, said on Twitter in reaction to Macron's speech.

Speaking in Athens earlier this month, he argued that such a process would be democratic without suffering the shortcomings of referendums, "the sole weapon of populists".

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