Wednesday 16 October 2019

Emmanuel Macron calls for joint eurozone budget in plea for greater unity

Emmanuel Macron delivering a speech at the Sorbonne (AP)
Emmanuel Macron delivering a speech at the Sorbonne (AP)

France's President Emmanuel Macron has proposed a joint budget for countries sharing the euro currency, to allow for investment in European projects and help stabilise the eurozone in case of economic crisis.

In a speech about Europe's future to students at the Sorbonne university in Paris, he said the budget could at first be financed by tougher taxes on internet giants and climate change-related taxes.

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.

Mr Macron also floated a shared European military intervention force and a shared defence budget.

Mr Macron said a European defence strategy must be defined by the early 2020s.

He wants to open the French military to European soldiers and proposed other EU member states do the same on a voluntary basis.

He also proposed the creation of a European intelligence academy to better fight against terrorism, and a shared civil protection force.

Mr Macron also said EU countries should tax internet giants where they make money and not where they are registered, as he pushes for tougher Europe-wide regulation of the online economy.

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

He proposed creating a single digital market, like other single EU markets, and a European "Disruption Innovation Agency" that could encourage European internet start-ups and finance research in artificial intelligence.

Alluding to Sunday's German election, when a far-right party entered the German parliament for the first time in 60 years, Mr Macron said "we thought the past would not come back".

He said this isolationist attitude has resurfaced "because we forgot to defend Europe".


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