Germany, France must break taboos to advance on European reforms: Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron called on Sunday for Germany and France to dig deeper as allies in their bid to spearhead a more united Europe, including by overcoming lingering scepticism on issues such as a euro zone budget, Reuters reported.
Macron has long championed a vision for a more integrated euro zone, including through a joint budget.
With European Parliament elections looming next May, the French president has also urged pro-EU forces to rally and take concrete policy steps in a bid to fend off anti-immigrant, nationalist parties on the rise in several member states.
In a speech to the German lower house of parliament on Sunday at an event honoring war victims, Macron said the onus was on France and Germany to pursue those efforts.
“This new phase can be scary as we will have to share, pool together our decision-making, our policies on foreign affairs, migration and development, an increasing part of our budgets and even fiscal resources, build a common defense strategy,” Macron said at the Bundestag.
“We have to overcome our taboos and overcome our habits.”
France and Germany are already expected to lay out plans on Monday for a limited joint euro zone budget, which will be focused for now solely on financing investment, according to French finance ministry sources.
That means it will steer clear for now of more controversial elements, like plans to use the budget to help euro zone countries in economic downturns.
But Macron is also pushing for progress in other areas of integration, including on plans to tax internet giants which Berlin has grown hesitant on.