Wednesday

23rd May 2018

Macron to 'rebuild' EU with citizen conventions

  • Macron in Athens: "we must have the courage to find again the path of democracy." (Photo: Emmanuel Macron/Twitter)

French president Emmanuel Macron wants to launch citizens' debates across Europe in order to "rebuild" the EU in a more democratic way.

"Europe can continue its destiny only if it is chosen and wanted," he said in Athens on Thursday (7 September).

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In a speech symbolically delivered in "the cradle of democracy", on the Pnyx hill, with the Acropolis behind him, the French leader called on Europeans to "have the courage to find again the path of democracy."

He said that he wanted to organise a series of "democratic conventions" in the first half of 2018 in EU countries that were willing to do so.

He explained that "the peoples of Europe will be consulted and will debate on principles proposed by the governments."

Then a "roadmap for Europe in the next 10 or 15 years" would be elaborated upon the citizens' ideas.

Referring to previously lost EU referendums in France, Netherlands, and Ireland, he noted that "the European project was turned down by peoples" but that those peoples "were not heard".

"In Europe today, sovereignty, democracy, and trust are in danger," Macron said.

"We must rediscover the enthusiasm that the union was founded upon and change, not with technocrats and not with bureaucracy," he added.

Macron's proposal on conventions was reminiscent of how he launched his own political career last year.

He started with a questionnaire to citizens when he created his political movement, which helped him to make a "diagnosis" of voters' expectations ahead of the 2017 elections.

His Athens gambit was also part of a strategy to shape EU politics, and to put France and Macron himself centre stage.

Macron, who has met almost all EU leaders in recent weeks, has said he will soon make 10 "concrete propositions" to rebuild Europe.

He intends to present them after the German elections on 24 September, but before German coalition talks start, so that they can be taken into account in the discussions to elaborate the next German government's programme.

Macron gave some indications on Thursday of what he will propose.

He said he was in favour of transnational lists for the European elections. He also said that he wanted a eurozone parliament "which would enable the creation of democratic responsibility."

The strengthening of the eurozone will form the bulk of Macron's propositions.

Jab at IMF

Repeating ideas first aired last week, the French president said in Athens that he wanted a eurozone budget and a European finance minister. He added that the eurozone should have its own capacity to manage financial crises.

He criticised the EU management of the Greek crisis, in particular its call to involve the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2010.

"I don't think it was the right method for the IMF to supervise European programmes and intervene in the way it did," he said, pleasing his Greek hosts.

"The IMF had no place in EU matters," Macron said.

Macron, who received the Order of the Redeemer, Greece's highest decoration, said: "We still find in Greece the exacerbated problems Europe is suffering from."

He called for debt relief for Greece and urged the IMF not to ask for new requirements to go down that path.

Macron revives multi-speed Europe idea

"We have to think up a Europe with several formats," said the French president, who will make "concrete" proposals after the German elections.

Opinion

Macron goes east to test appetite for EU integration

The next few months will be decisive in selecting who stays in the core of the EU and who stays behind, writes Tomas Prouza, a former state secretary for European Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Opinion

A 'citizen scenario' for the future of Europe

EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker's state of the union speech addressed a number of issues, but citizens seemed to be missing from the list.

Analysis

Merkel-Macron: An EU motor in the making

Merkel's re-election is expected to revive the Franco-German EU motor, but the German leader and France's new ruler are still searching for a common vision.

Macron to lay out plan for EU 'pioneers'

French leader seeking to "rebuild Europe" with "pioneer" groups of pro-integration states. But German coalition talks could hold him back.

Opinion

Linking EU funds to 'rule of law' is innovative - but vague

Defining what constitutes 'rule of law' violations may be more difficult than the EU Commission proposes, as it tries to link cohesion funds in east Europe to judicial independence. A key question will be who is to 'judge' those judges?

Opinion

Europe's budget stasis

The EU's budgetary muddling through might not be enough when the next crisis hits.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  2. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and reconciliation is a process that takes decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  3. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  4. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  5. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  7. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments
  8. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual Report celebrates organization’s tenth anniversary
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Cooperation Needed on Green Exports and Funding
  10. Mission of China to the EUPremier Li Confirms China Will Continue to Open Up
  11. European Jewish CongressCalls on Brussels University to Revoke Decision to Honour Ken Loach
  12. Sustainable Energy Week 2018"Lead the Clean Energy Transition"- Register and Join Us in Brussels from 5 to 7 May

Latest News

  1. Are EU data watchdogs staffed for GDPR?
  2. EU pessimistic on permanent US trade exemption
  3. US asks EU to go after Russian and African villains
  4. Facebook threatened with removal from EU-US data pact
  5. Defence firms 'reap benefits' of their advice to EU
  6. Athens mayor wants direct access to EU migration fund
  7. Nordics could be first carbon-negative region in world
  8. Zuckerberg and Trump top the EU's agenda This WEEK