Could France's pro-EU president Macron rattle Europe?


10 May 2017

Macron quest for EU reforms could irk member countries

France's newly elected president Emmanuel Macron is known to have a pro-European Union stance.

His victory has been welcomed by EU leaders at a time when the economic bloc faces uncertainty after the Brexit.

However, Macron believes the EU should be reformed to stem the growth of nationalists and populists.

His reform ideas could lead to clashes in Europe. We explain how!

On Economy

Macron wants reforms but can't pass legislation

Macron wants reforms but can't pass legislation

Given the state of its economy, France might miss its 2017 budgetary targets, and could face penalties from the EU.

Macron had earlier vowed to spending and public sector job cuts to get EU powerhouse Germany to support his reform proposals.

Macron will need to get crucial reforms passed in a divided France. However, his party doesn't have any members in the National Assembly.

Eurozone plans

Macron's Eurozone reform plans could open Pandora's box

Macron had promised he would fight to create a Eurozone parliament along with a finance minister and budget.

Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble disagrees with this, so has EU commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.

Macron also argued that for the Euro currency to survive, economic transfers between Eurozone member states are a must.

Such changes would require large-scale EU treaty changes which would be difficult.

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Democratic conventions

Macron wants changes in EU conventions and rules

Macron has proposed that EU countries hold conventions and debates to update the EU's vision and priorities.

Following the Brexit, the EU has launched a soul-searching effort, which led to the Rome Declaration.

At Rome, nations reaffirmed their commitment to the EU but didn't agree to any timely commitments.

EU countries are fearful that further debates would lead to a treaty change.

On Poland, Hungary

Macron wants action against Poland and Hungary for flouting rules

Macron angered Polish and Hungarian leaders by saying he would aim for tougher actions against the countries for allegedly breaking fundamental EU rules and values.

Hungary has faced legal probes for backtracking on democratic norms while Poland hasn't complied with EU rules.

The European Parliament has called for action against Poland and Hungary but EU countries have been reluctant to act.

Collective security

Macron calls for institutionalized defence cooperation in EU

Macron has called for a creation of a European Security Council for unified defence operations.

He said cooperation should forge ahead among interested member states and not wait for all countries to come on board.

However, the idea that a few countries should go ahead with defence integration could irritate EU countries.

While discussing the Rome Declaration, several countries fiercely opposed collective defense.

Reforms possible?

EU members will have to back Macron for bloc's survival

Macron must learn to balance European partners and garner support in a deeply divided France.

He has to forge ahead with EU reforms to ensure his presidency; he isn't the "continuity" government which his far-right rival Marine Le Pen has labelled him.

Despite having different priorities, pro-EU governments may have to help Macron or risk losing France, a crucial country, and stalling European integration.

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