Macron declares decision time for Europe
SOFIA — French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday “it is now time for decisions” and “France is now waiting” for Germany to respond to his proposals for sweeping reforms to the EU.
Speaking at the close of an EU leaders summit here in the Bulgarian capital, Macron expressed impatience with the inaction on the reforms he has proposed, which include deepening the blocs banking and monetary union.
Asked about the apparent rise of a Euroskeptic government in Italy, Macron said not enough was known about the coalition that appears to be emerging between the anti-establishment 5Star Movement and the far-right League.
Regardless of the government that emerges in Italy, Macron said: “It will only reinforce my determination to lead and to go on with a European project. We have a deadline in June, set with the German chancellor, and I expect a lot from the German response. France has made proposals, France has made reforms and then France has waited. The upcoming summer is a moment of truth.”
Macron said he regarded his victory in the French presidential election as a victory for his integrationist stance on Europe. But he also warned that Europe is in danger of losing popular support if it is unable to make decisions, noting the coming European elections.
“I think since the Second World War, there has never been a moment of such historical importance” — Emmanuel Macron
“Europe will move forward only once it removes its ambiguities, and by being able to tell which kind of projects we want to make progress one and which type of Europe we want to build in the next five or 10 years,” he said. “Europe has always been able to manage decisions each time at the last minute in the worst of crisis. But since the end of the crisis, it shows that it can no longer launch itself again into ambitious projects. Thats what I wish for us to do starting from this summer, that is the meaning of the risk taken by France to make strong proposals in the last autumn, this is what I expect from Germany and thats what I expect from our partners.”
Pivoting from the question about Italy, Macron said the EU is at a major crossroads.
“It is also a historical battle for our Continent and I will put all my energy to lead it and to win it,” he said, adding, “I think since the Second World War, there has never been a moment of such historical importance, where our traditional alliances are being made fragile, where the issue of the global order is being reconsidered, where the issue of European sovereignty including on defense matters is so strongly at stake, and well see that on the occasion of the next NATO summit. There is also an issue of our own internal solidarity,” he said.
“So those who had doubts or thought they could walk away from these issues,” he said, “well, history is back. And it is now time for decisions.”
Maïa de la Baume contributed reporting.