Both German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron have presented plans to reform the European Union. While there are many aspects that the two leaders agree, there are also some fundamental differences. Most significant of these is the agreement to create a European Army, the creation of an EU Monetary Fund, and a clamp down on immigration. FRN’s parent organization, CSS, has long forecasted the eventuality of European Army which would make NATO a redundant relic of an Atlanticist past.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron proposed two versions of the EU reform. Although the two plans have much in common, there are also interesting differences. The two plans are supposed to be discussed at the next EU summit in late June.
Both agree that it is necessary to reaffirm border controls and cooperation in migration policies. The two aim to turn the border force in Europe into a fully operational border police who, over time, can process asylum applications.
Merkel and Macron also agree that the EU should work “more closely” with the migrants countries of origin, particularly as refugees usually discard their official identities so that EU border officials do not know which country they came from.
The two leaders also suggest closer cooperation with the nations surrounding the EU and note that there should be more legal asylum opportunities in Europe to combat “illegal migration.”
Parallel to the more prosaic issues surrounding migration, the proposal to reduce the power of the European Commission (EC) is notable. As a concrete measure, the chancellor and the president intend to reduce the number of European commissioners. The two, however, can not agree on how many people cut: while Macron wants to halve the current number, Merkel refers vaguely to “less than before.”
The German leader also proposed a new mechanism to elect a president of the European Commission, which would include a list of European candidates competing with each other. Macron expressed skepticism about this proposal.
Both are in favor of the creation of a European army – a project long debated by the EU. According to Macron, European military forces would engage in aggressive military operations abroad, while Merkel opposes this idea, suggesting that only the defense of the European continent would suffice.
In addition, Merkel pleads for Germany to have a seat in the EU in the UN Security Council (Germany is not a permanent member of the Security Council), while Macron, as president of a nation with this power, opposes this. The German chancellor proposed the creation of a European Security Council, which would allow the EU to play a more proactive role in external affairs.
Macron suggested that increased membership contributions could contribute to a solution to the current EU economic crisis, along with a proposal for a corporate tax across the EU. This would put a considerable burden on both the German and the weakest states in the EU, and make EU participation less interesting for nations potentially interested in joining the bloc.
The German alternative includes a more sophisticated approach, which includes the creation of a European Monetary Fund that could “drastically reduce the power of the [European] commission”.
Merkel also advocates the establishment of new investment funds as a way of financing technological and scientific innovation, as well as ensuring that states develop at a similar pace. The plan does not elaborate who would provide the funds and by what means, however.