A necessary debate about Europe's future

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Emmanuel Macron's speech on Europe A necessary debate about Europe's future

The Chancellor welcomes the fact that French President Emmanuel Macron has provided "lots of material for the upcoming and necessary debate about the future of Europe" reported federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert in Berlin. On Tuesday Macron presented his vision for the future of the EU in a speech in Paris.

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EU flag flying against a blue sky

The German government will explore Emmanuel Macron's proposed reforms "with an open mind", says Steffen Seibert

Photo: Bundesregierung/Bolesch

Emmanuel Macron’s speech will "lend new momentum" to the debate over the future of the EU, said federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert on Wednesday at the government press conference. He reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the fact "that the French President spoke with such feeling, with such passion for Europe". He underscored the fact that the Chancellor will "do her bit in this debate, to which she brings her unwavering commitment to Europe and all her experience".

Continuing discussion about the reform of the EU

In the wake of Britain’s Brexit referendum in 2016, the Chancellor engaged strongly in the so-called Bratislava process to reform the EU. When they met in March 2017 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaties of Rome, the EU leaders set themselves more reform goals. The French President has now done much to enrich this discussion.

Steffen Seibert announced that the German government agrees with the fundamental premise of the French President, that Europe is something "we have to keep working at, because it is still not so effective and not so swift to respond to the changing world we live in".

On 26 September 2017 Emmanuel Macron laid out his vision for the future of the European Union, speaking in front of an audience of European students at Paris’ Sorbonne University. The French President proposed a euro zone with its own finance minister and budget. He also advocated cooperating on security and defence policy. And he suggested new common bodies, including an EU agency for digital innovation and an EU intelligence academy. Emmanuel Macron also expressed his support for European citizen’s conventions to support reform.

Tallinn next opportunity for discussion

Steffen Seibert said that the many reform ideas and proposals voiced by Emmanuel Macron would now be perused "with an open mind" before moving on to look at what practical form the proposals could take. The meeting of EU heads of state and government in Tallinn, the evening before the Digital Summit, offers an opportunity to discuss matters.

This Friday the heads of state and government of the EU member states will be attending the Tallinn Digital Summit. The summit is an initiative of the Estonian Presidency. Estonia is a trail-blazer in Europe in terms of digitalisation. The day before the summit, there is to be an informal dinner for EU leaders, hosted by Donald Tusk, President of the European Council. One year after the Bratislava roadmap was agreed, the heads of state and government will be exchanging their views on the greatest challenges facing the EU.

Standing together to uphold European values

On Tuesday Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel praised Macron’s "passionate plea against nationalism and for Europe". "In future we will only be able to make our voices heard and uphold our values and principles in this turbulent, chaotic world if we work together. We will only be able to rekindle the enthusiasm of the people in Europe for Europe with common solutions," he declared.