Macron Proposes to Reform EU, Create New Eurozone Parliament

Kristopher Drake
September 10, 2017

The second day of Macron's visit focused on economic issues, with more than 140 French and Greek businesses - among them oil giant Total and construction firm Vinci - meeting in Athens.

Macron was in Athens for a two-day visit, accompanied by 40 business executives from companies including Total and Vinci in a trip created to encourage investment and show goodwill towards a country which is emerging from a multi-year recession.

At the same time, he repeated Macron's view that the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) has evolved into an institution that can assume the IMF's role in the Euro zone. He called on French companies that have had a presence in Greece for years to "give new energy, new dynamism to investments in Greece". "I have always defended the IMF in worldwide discussions, but intervening in European Union crises and programs is not its first vocation, " he said, expressing the hope that the European Union could set up its own monetary fund to help prevent crises so that it would not have to make recourse to global ones.

Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos said Greece supported France's proposals for a closer euro zone.

"We respect the International Monetary Fund, but we can manage better with an organization which was set up to have a European mentality and understand the euro zone's special features", Pavlopoulos said.

Greece's economy is showing signs of rebounding after a deep recession that shrank it by a quarter, boosting hopes it can emerge from years of financial bailouts.

Notably he posited the creation of a new European Monetary Fund to handle future crises, adding that "as far as I am concerned, the IMF had no place in EU affairs".

The IMF, alongside the European Union, has participated in two of Greece's three foreign bailouts since 2010 in exchange for unpopular austerity measures.

Macron also said he backed the idea of giving Britain's 78 seats in the European Parliament to pan-EU representatives elected by all of the EU's citizens after Brexit. "We can achieve fiscal unification if we achieve political and economic integration", Tsipras said.

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