Culture

Macron wants EU-wide corporate tax band

Macron wants EU-wide corporate tax band”

During his election campaign, French President Emmanuel Macron promised to reinvigorate the European Union.

But at a time when Europe is beset by tensions between east and west and battling to overcome almost a decade of draining economic crisis, Macron's earnest and at times high-brow discourse ran the risk of falling on deaf ears. They do want to believe in an idealised, better France, and an idealised, better Europe.

But following the German results, the urgent subtext of his address was clear: the 39-year-old president wasted no time in arguing that "sovereign, united and democratic" Europe was the key to fighting - and defeating - an ascendant far right across the continent.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday proposed setting up a joint military "rapid response force" for the European Union by 2020.

But her party appeared on track for its poorest performance since the first German election after World War Two and its only path to power may be through an unwieldy, untested three-way coalition with the ecologist Greens and liberal Free Democrats (FDP), fierce critics of Macron's ideas for Europe.

To which Macron, the wide-eyed visionary, would no doubt reply: yes, but if we all want it enough, who knows?

"If the idea of giving the eurozone its own budget is for a cash pipeline out of Germany to other European states, we won't help make it happen", Lindner told a rally days before the election.

"A budget can only go hand in hand with strong political leadership led by a common [finance] minister and a strong parliamentary supervision at the European level", he said, emphasizing the need for democratic accountability.

One Elysee official said that since a eurozone budget would "be necessary in due course", Macron felt it worthwhile to broach the issue, which he hoped would be taken into consideration during Germany's coalition negotiations.

Macron ran for the French presidency on a pledge to "relaunch" Europe, in tandem with Germany, after years of economic and financial crisis and the new shock dealt by Britain's vote last year to leave the bloc.

Merkel, asked about potential cooperation with Macron, signaled that further euro-area integration can wait while she sets about forming a government.

"Why not set ourselves the objective that by 2024, we integrate our markets totally by applying the same rules to our companies, from corporate law to bankruptcy regulation?" said Macron.

Macron's speech came after the reelection of his principal continental ally, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to a fourth term, albeit with certain caveats.

He also suggested an increase in development aid for Africa, which he said should no longer be treated as a problem "but as a partner". "We have to openly discuss all ideas and decide before May 2019".

Merkel said Europe would play a role in the coalition negotiations and that it would be important to sound out the FDP.

Martin Selmayr, the chief of staff to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, praised the French leader for a "very European" speech.

Italy's EU affairs minister, Sandro Gozi, said the speech would inspire European leaders into action.



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