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Macron for EU rebirth

Hardy GraupnerAugust 31, 2015

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron has said the EU and the eurozone have no future without a currency union coupled with a fiscal transfer system. He also called for a strong euro commissioner.

Italien EU Gipfeltreffen für Beschäftigung in Mailand
Image: Reuters/J. Naegelen

In an interview for Germany's daily "Süddeutsche Zeitung," French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron spoke out in favor of a complete overhaul of the European Union and the eurozone in particular.

He said the euro crisis and the protracted negotiations on yet another bailout for Greece had shown that the currency union in its current form was no longer viable.

"The status quo leads to self-destruction," Macron warned. "The centrifugal force is just too big, politically and economically."

Where the strong help the weak

Macron suggested the eurozone should have a joint economic government led by a strong euro commissioner with far-reaching powers who would have to be in charge of coordinating the area's fiscal and social policies and have a say in labor market issues and investment programs.

The minister stressed such a commissioner would have to have much more funds at his disposal to do a proper job. "The higher the budget, the higher Europe's credibility," Macron argued.

He also spoke out in favor of a fiscal equalization scheme under which economically stronger eurozone nations would transfer funds to weaker ones.

Macron was convinced the French would approve such a reform in a referendum and said radical steps should be taken by 2019 at the latest and become part of a revised EU Treaty.

The minister added that he was aware of German politicians' reluctance to play along as a fiscal equalization scheme had always been a taboo for Berlin.