PARIS (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron laid out his vision for reform of the European Union on Tuesday, detailing a desire for a major overhaul of the single currency bloc and ideas on deeper defence and immigration cooperation.
Macron was setting out his ideas before German Chancellor Angela Merkel begins the task of building a coalition government after she suffered a sharp fall in support in Sunday’s election, which may hamper her ability to help him deliver reform.
Below are highlights from his speech:
“A more fragile Europe is today exposed to waves of globalisation.”
“The only path that assures our future is the rebuilding of a Europe that is sovereign, united and democratic.”
“At the beginning of the next decade, Europe must have a joint intervention force, a common defence budget and a joint doctrine for action.”
“We must provide Europe with a joint civil protection force.”
“It is only with Europe that we can efficiently protect our borders and welcome those who need protection in a dignified manner, and at the same time send back those who are not eligible for asylum.”
“We must create a European asylum office, which accelerates and harmonises our procedures.
Says he wants “the gradual creation of a European border police” to assure the better protection of Europe’s borders.
“We can no longer see Africa as a threat but as a partner.”
“Development aid must be increased.”
“We need a tax on carbon at the borders of Europe. This is indispensable.”
“Studies show that a carbon price below 25-30 euros per tonne is not efficient.”
Macron says Europe needs “an agency for disruptive innovation ... let us finance research in new areas such as Artificial Intelligence.”
“We cannot accept that there are European firms that are taxed and internationals one that are not.”
Says he wants EU heads of states to take up the issue of “a tax on value where it is created, which will enable us to review our tax systems profoundly, to tax without complacency those companies that set up outside Europe for the sole purpose of escaping tax.”
“A durable economic power can only be built around a single currency. It is from this economic and monetary union that we can create an integrated Europe.”
“The fundamental issue is not a mechanism which will magically solve all our problems ... it is not about mutualising our past debts or solving the financial problems of one country or another. What is at stake is to reduce unemployment which affects one in five European youths.”
Macron says Europe needs its own budget to “finance joint investments and assure stability when confronted by economic shocks ... A budget can only go hand in hand with strong political leadership led by a common minister and a strong parliamentary supervision at the European level.”
Macron says wants to define “a common corporate tax band”; Europe needs to define a minimum wage that reflects the economic reality of each country.
“We need a Europe that is simpler, more transparent and less bureaucratic.”
“Simple, efficient, protective, the single market should become a space for convergence rather than competition.”
In the context of a wider Europe: “We cannot continue with a (European) Commission of 30 members, as if each country must have its own members. It has no sense and does not reflect the European project. A Commission of 15 members should be our target.”
To Germany: “Why not set ourselves the objective that by 2024 we integrate totally our markets by applying the same rules to our companies, from corporate law to bankruptcy regulation.”
On Merkel: “We share the same European ambitions and I know her commitment to Europe. I’m proposing to Germany a new partnership We will not agree on everything, not immediately, but we will discuss everything.”
“This Europe which has allowed us to turn our backs on war needs to be ambitious once again.”
Reporting by Paris newsroom; Editing by Richard Lough