Macron tells German parliament European revival can prevent global 'chaos'

Evarado Alatorre
Noviembre 19, 2018

"France has always been on Germany's side", said the progressive president of the French Republic, explaining in the ambitious speech of his vision for the European Union that "the new Franco-German responsibility is to build a modern, effective, sovereign, democratic Europe", which seeks to "regulate fair trade, protect the environment, and provide a good balance between individual freedom and collective solidarity".

He then apparently made a decision to think big, proclaiming that "Europe and the Franco-German pair within it" have to do no less than "not let the world slip into chaos".

"That is why Europe needs more sovereignty, because it will never be equal to its role if it itself becomes the pawn of the great powers, if it does not take more responsibility for its own security and defence, and if it is satisfied with a subordinate role on the world stage", he warned.

In a speech to Germany's parliament, he said Europe must not "become a plaything of great powers".

Merkel said she agreed with Macron's assessment that Europe stands "at a crossroads", before the two headed into a meeting to discuss a range of policy challenges - from a joint eurozone budget to migration policy and taxing Internet giants.

At their second meeting in a week, the two are expected to once again raise the idea of establishing a European army as a symbol of a united continent, a proposal that has raised Trump's hackles.

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen insisted that a joint military force would need not just common equipment and training but also "the political will to resolutely defend European interests when a conflict breaks out".

Europe must show strength to avoid global chaos, says Macron
Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel attemd wreath-laying ceremony

And France's Minister for European Affairs, Nathalie Loiseau, told the Journal du Dimanche: "it is not a question of being against the United States but of taking our destiny into our own hands to no longer count on others".

As the world has remembered World War I, which ended a century ago this month, Macron has repeatedly invoked its horrors to drive home the message that rising nationalism is again destabilising the world.

While strong on symbolism, the Franco-German partnership and European reform push have been plagued by policy differences and the domestic troubles of the two leaders.

There is much frustration in Paris about Merkel's perceived foot-dragging on Macron's bold reform plans, especially on forging a eurozone with a major common budget and finance minister.

The meeting came as both leaders are politically weakened, reducing the traditional driving power at the heart of the bloc.

Merkel last week echoed Macron's call for a European army, a long-term prospect that drew tweeted criticism of Macron from Trump.

She has vowed to serve out her fourth term, which runs until 2021, but many observers expect Merkel could be brought down earlier by infighting within the CDU or the unhappy three-party coalition she leads.

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