By Helene Fouquet
France’s Emmanuel Macron declared 2018 “a decisive year” and said cooperation between France and Germany is necessary for Europe to become economically stronger and be a global leader on equal footing with China and the U.S.
“Europe is good for France, and France cannot succeed without a stronger Europe,” Macron said in a nationally televised address Sunday. “Our dialogue with Germany is the necessary condition for Europe to move forward,” he added.
Macron reiterated earlier calls to European voters to get involved in continent-wide parliamentary elections due in 2019.
The French leader’s comments followed his German counterpart Angela Merkel’s address to the nation Saturday — one in which the chancellor, now in her fourth term, said she’ll team up with France to hold the EU together and pledged to form her next government “without delay.”
Merkel outlined a vision that includes an alliance with Macron to strengthen Europe’s economic clout and control migration while upholding values of tolerance and pluralism within the EU and abroad.
Macron called on EU members to stand together and become more sovereign in the near future. “Europe can become this global power economically, socially, on the fight for climate, scientifically, that can face China and the U.S., with its own values.”
The French leader also promised to press ahead with economic and social reforms at the same fast pace since his election in May, including a change in French laws to push for more gender equality. He also said France would become more strict in its immigration policies with more controls, without providing details.
Macron pledged to “listen and respect” the country’s political opposition, but he added that “in the end, I will do what you are expecting me to.”
The 40-year-old leader ended the 17-minute address from his office calling on French people to “ask themselves what they can do for the nation” every day — channeling the words of U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural address.
The article was originally published on Bloomberg Quint.
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