Friday

22nd Feb 2019

French minister: Rich EU states should transfer money to poorer members

  • "Status quo leads to self-destruction," says Emmanuel Macron. (Photo: OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS)

French economy minister Emmanuel Macron is calling for "a new foundation of Europe", with a more integrated eurozone and fiscal transfers between richer and poorer countries.

"Status quo leads to self-destruction," he said in an interview with Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Political and economical centrifugal forces are too strong" not to change things, he added.

Macron is proposing the creation of a euro commissioner with "extended powers" over the single currency, EU economy and finances, as well as employment and investment policies.

This super-commissioner would manage an increased EU budget to protect member states from financial shocks and foster investments.

"The higher the budget is, the more credible Europe is," Macron said, adding "we need a big leap".

He also suggests the eurozone should have its own parliament, composed of "MEPs who belong to eurozone countries".

New treaty

"We can already prepare the modifications of EU treaties", and implement them after the French and German elections in 2017, the French minister said.

"In 2018 or 2019, Europe would stand on a new, better basis".

But this vision, he notes, "breaks a German taboo" on the issue of transfer union.

"If the member states, like before, are not ready for any kind of financial transfers in the monetary union, we can forget the euro and the eurozone," he said.

"There cannot be a monetary union with no financial equalisation. The strong must help".

Macron's interview follows proposals made by French president Francois Hollande in July for a more integrated eurozone.

But he has dropped Hollande's idea of a "eurozone vanguard", while including the controversial transfer union proposal.

Whether Macron is acting as Hollande's messenger to speak to Germany's government and public opinion, or trying to boost his own stature at the European level, is unclear.

The 37-year old minister ruffled feathers in France last week when he criticised the 35-hour week, saying that "the left was wrong when it thought France would be better if it worked less".

The comments embarrassed Hollande's socialist government.

Analysis

Hollande's limited eurozone vision

With his proposals for a more integrated eurozone, the French president is looking beyond the Greek crisis. But does he have a plan?

Eurozone should have own treasury by 2025

Eurozone states should cede more powers to EU institutions, including to a euro area treasury to be set-up in the next 10 years, a new report says.

Agenda

Brits and French go to polls This WEEK

The British election will determine who will lead the UK out of the EU, while French leader Macron hopes to secure his base for more eurozone integration.

News in Brief

  1. Report: Russia offered Italy's Salvini €3m for EU election
  2. EU and US could 'quickly' clinch mini-trade pact
  3. Belgium to gather evidence on Syria 'foreign fighters'
  4. Dozens of Tory and Labour MPs threatening to quit over Brexit
  5. UK will struggle on free-trade deals, EU says
  6. Juncker pledges climate action alongside Swedish activist
  7. Swedbank brings in external help on money laundering revelations
  8. No-deal Brexit danger 'very serious', Corbyn says after Brussels meeting

Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all

The visit of Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz to the White House on Wednesday showed that the current rift in transatlantic relations is deepening by the day.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. Swedish activist urges EU to double climate goals
  2. EP budget chair seeks clarity on Saudi lobbying and College of Europe
  3. Microsoft warns EU on election hack threat
  4. Brexit talks to continue after May-Juncker meeting
  5. Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all
  6. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  7. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says
  8. 'No evidence' ECB bond-buying helped euro economy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us