Mr Macron and Mr Schäuble agree upon Eurozone reform but for different reasons
Last week the French President was forced to act in his effort to further integrate Eurozone finances, sending finance minister Bruno Le Maire to reaffirm Spanish commitment to federalist reform.
Mr Macron – dubbed the “new leader of Europe” after his election victory last year – wants to see a radical EU reform agenda. His vision, according to Hans Kundnani, writing for the London School of Economics in a blog titled, “The troubling transformation of the EU”, is to forge, “greater solidarity between citizens and member states”.
He wants a European Monetary Fund, a eurozone finance minister, and the eventual potential pooling of Eurozone debt
However, in sharp contradiction to Mr Macron’s aim, Tim Focas, financial services director at Parliament Street told Express.co.uk that Mr Macron’s federalist agenda does not have what’s best for the people of Europe in mind, and will merely achieve the opposite.
He said: “This is less about what the people of France want, and more about Macron’s Utopic vision for a more integrated economic and monetary union across Europe.
“Greater fiscal integration demands a monumental transfer of sovereignty to the EU level. For this to happen, various EU treaties would need to change which is why there is huge residence across the rest of Europe.
“Including, crucially for Macron, huge push back from Germany.”
Eurozone reform: Germany does not want pooled debt
This is less about what the people of France want, and more about Macron’s Utopic vision for a more integrated economic and monetary union across Europe.
However, despite Germany’s long-standing “push back” against eurozone reform, Mr Kundnani insists many in Germany, including Wolfgang Schäuble of the leading Christian Democratic Union, have started to support the same idea, but for entirely different reasons.
He said: “They see it as a way to increase control over EU member states’ budgets and more strictly enforce the eurozone’s fiscal rules and thus increase European ‘competitiveness’.
“If that vision were to prevail, ‘more Europe’ would mean ‘more Germany’ – as many of the steps that have been taken in the last seven years since the euro crisis began have.”
The expert says federalists in Brussels think about European integration on simple terms of: integration, good; disintegration, bad.
He warns steps in this direction, for example turning European Stability Mechanism into a European Monetary Fund, may form part of a “troubling transformation of the EU that goes back to the beginning of the euro crisis”.
On the latest phase of the European project he warns, “It may be that, in the name of ‘more Europe’, a quite different EU is emerging in reality than the idealised project of the ‘pro-European’ imagination”.
Economic frailty could push the eurozone to embrace the ‘more Europe’ project with Matthew Lynn writing in the Telegraph: “Very few people seem to have noticed it yet but there are worrying signs the exporting powerhouse at the centre of the eurozone is slowing down sharply.”
He added: “If that is what is happening, and the evidence is mounting all the time, then it will be catastrophic for the whole single currency area.
“No progress has been made on reform, policy responses are limited and electorates are exhausted by austerity. One more downturn might be the last.”
However, he adds: “It might only be a blip.”