Sunday

17th 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. Spain's Sanchez calls snap election on 28 April
  2. 15,000 Belgian school kids march against climate change
  3. May suffers fresh Brexit defeat in parliament
  4. Warning for British banks over Brexit staff relocation
  5. Former Italian PM wants Merkel for top EU post
  6. Antisemitic incidents up 10% in Germany
  7. Italy's asylum rejection rate at record high
  8. Hungary will not claim EU funds for fraudulent project

Opinion

Eastern Europe Matters

The foreign ministers of Sweden, Poland and the Czech Republic reflect on 10 years of the Eastern Partnership with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  2. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  4. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  6. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  7. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”

Latest News

  1. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table
  2. Could Finnish presidency fix labour-chain abuse?
  3. Brexit and trip to Egypt for Arab League This WEEK
  4. Belgian spy scandal puts EU and Nato at risk
  5. EU Parliament demands Saudi lobby transparency
  6. Saudi Arabia, but not Russia, on EU 'dirty money' list
  7. EU agrees draft copyright reform, riling tech giants
  8. Rutte warns EU to embrace 'Realpolitik' foreign policy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us