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Macron's EU vision faces summit reality check

Friday, September 29, 2017 - 01:57

French President Emmanuel Macron has pitched a reform agenda to counterparts at an informal EU summit in Estonia. But with Brexit also on the table, present problems are also grabbing attention. Jacob Greaves reports.

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French President Emmanuel Macron is trying to be Europe's man of the moment. The latest get-together of EU leaders in Estonia didn't have a formal agenda before their summit on cyber security. But Macron has pushed for EU reform: Deepening the bloc's ties on defence, migration and the eurozone. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for one, likes what he had to say, Saying his ideas could be the foundations for "intense" Franco-German cooperation. But in reality her hands are tied for now. After Germany's parliamentary election she is still yet to form a functioning government. Engineering a likely three-party coalition could take months. And Macron's plans havent been met as positively by all EU members. As he voiced a refrom agenda during dinner Thursday (September 28), Lithuania's leader tweeted, "Important to avoid mirages in the desert." On Friday (September 29) Macron mantained he has support. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "I won't make any other comment. I can tell you that there is a consensus to go forward." But other EU leaders appear more focused on the present than the future - with Brexit again a major talking point. Theresa May using the opportunity to suggest progress had been made on negotiations. And using this not so subtle backdrop to emphasise the UK's security commitments to Europe. But European Commision President Jean Claude Juncker blew any goodwill out of the water. Briefing reporters it would take a "miracle" for talks to advance quick enough to put the key issue of trade on the table. Fridays informal meeting started with a song. But when it comes to Brexit, nobody thinks those in this room are all singing from the same hymn sheet

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Macron's EU vision faces summit reality check

Friday, September 29, 2017 - 01:57