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Macron seeks a more integrated Europe, Brexit or no

26 Septembre 2017

After a far-right party entered the German parliament for the first time in 60 years, Macron said this isolationist attitude has resurfaced "because of blindness. because we forgot to defend Europe".

"We thought the past would not come back. we thought we had learned the lessons", Macron told a crowd of European students at the Sorbonne university Tuesday as he seeks to make France's mark on Europe's future.

He added the budget would eventually need to come also from the national budgets of countries sharing the euro currency, for instance using domestic taxes on businesses.

French President Emmanuel Macron's proposals to strengthen the European Union drew mixed reaction in Germany, with a lawmaker from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavarian allies warning against turning the bloc into an "unlimited transfer union". Ahead of his speech, Elysee officials said Macron hoped his ideas would be taken into account in Germany's coalition building negotiations.

Merkel has sent conciliatory signals to Macron since his election, keeping the possibility of a Franco-German overhaul of the European Union alive.

To reduce inequalities across the EU, Macron also suggested greater harmonization of EU tax policies - notably on corporate taxes, and taxing internet giants where they make money and not where they are registered.

Macron said, "I believe deeply in this innovation economy", but insisted that "we must have this debate" about making taxation more fair.

Tim Peake spacecraft to complete new voyage at Ulster Museum in Belfast
Visitors will be able to see it up close, along with a 82ft parachute that brought the crew to a safe landing. It's now used by worldwide space agencies as a means of sending astronauts up to the global Space Station.

"At the beginning of the next decade, Europe must have a joint intervention force, a common defense budget and a joint doctrine for action". He suggested the creation of a European intelligence academy to better fight against terrorism, and a joint civil protection force.

To deal with Europe's migration flux, Macron wants a European asylum agency and standard EU identity documents.

Reacting to the speech in Britain, a spokesman for UKIP remarked the plan could nearly have been tailor-made to repulse British voters, remarking: "If Eurosceptics had wished to create a European perspective that would guarantee Britain voting to leave the European Union, they could not have done as well as Mr. Macron did today".

Mr Macron's policies have met resistance at home, and riot police held back a few dozen protesters outside the Sorbonne.

"The problem in Europe is not a lack of public funds, but the lack of reform".

In Berlin on Monday, in a reference to Macron's speech, Merkel said it was important to move beyond catchphrases and provide detail on how Europe could be improved.

Macron plans to discuss his proposals with all leaders of European Union member states that are interested in the integration process by the end of the year.