Macron’s desperate FIGHTBACK: Emmanuel calls for MAXIMUM EU integration to save reputation

The new French president, whose popularity ratings have taken a battering since he rose to power as EU golden boy, is now attempting to push forward his plans for the further amalgamation of the bloc with the role of a new eurozone finance minister. 

Mr Macron, 39, had spearheaded the idea during his presidential election campaign, with the plan to ratchet up the federalisation of the 60-year-old bloc’s core economies.

Speaking at a conference in Greece, Emmanuel Macron urged eurozone members to move with “maximum ambition” towards adopting a “real eurozone budget and a permanent finance minister who leads this executive”. 

The eurozone finance minister would manage a common budget that would be accountable to a eurozone parliament, he said.

He added: “This is a democratic responsibility on the eurozone level and as such it requires maximum ambition.” 

His comments reflect the self proclaimed role Mr Macron took to overhaul the troubled European Union in the wake of Britain’s momentous Brexit vote. 

At the age of 39 he became the youngest president in the history of France and came to power with the promise of major political renewal. 

However the former banker’s ambitious economic reforms have failed to get off the ground and instead the French president has faced threats of strikes and protests against his leadership. 

The French had pinned their hopes on the centrist, seeing him as the reformist as an antidote to the populist wave washing over Europe. 

But this Mr Macron’s approval ratings dropped to its lowest ever, with fewer than one-third of French voters saying they held a favourable opinion of their president. 

It comes as EU boss Jean-Claude Juncker backed his plans for a Brussels finance minister to save the crippled eurozone, while insistng he was not an “integration fanatic”. 

Mr Macron and wife Brigette flew to the Greek capital of Athens on Thursday with around 40 French executives to emphasise the need for more financial solidarity with weaker members of the eurozone. 

He also praised his hosts Greece for their efforts to carry out reform as it attempts to claw back itself from crippling debt.