EMMANUEL Macron is about to deliver his own vision for Europe today in a landmark speech calling for a deeper economic and monetary union between states.
But the French President’s big address has already suffered an early blow by a poor showing in the German elections for ally Angela Merkel.
He will take to the stage at Sorbonne University in Paris to put meat on the bones of his election promise of a budget, parliament and finance minister for the eurozone.
The 39-year-old, who has come under early pressure at in France over labour reforms, wants to build a European alliance of parties that supports his vision.
As part of 10 key projects, Mr Macron also hopes to set up a preemptive fund that would help countries in trouble, build defence alliances and create a European innovation agency.
One Elysee official said that a eurozone budget would “be necessary in due course”, so Mr Macron wanted to raise the issue and hoped it would be considered during Germany’s coalition negotiations.
However, it is thought the outcome of the German election, which is expected to see Angela Merkel form a coalition with the Greens and fiscally conservative FDP, could scupper his plans.
Mr Macron campaigned on a pledge to “relaunch” Europe alongside Germany, but Mrs Merkel’s disappointing election result and the pledge of former coalition partners the SDP to go into opposition, leaves her with less room to manoeuvre.
The pro-business FDP are hostile to the French President’s vision, with Mr Macron warning his vision could be “dead” if that coalition is formed.
Its leader Christian Lindner has dismissed creating a eurozone budget, saying German money should not be used for “French public spending or fixing Berlusconi’s mistakes” in Italy.
And, speaking after the election, a weakened Mrs Merkel also appeared lukewarm.
She said: “I‘m not going to rule out anything or set red lines. The union will support what makes sense.
“My view is that we can use more Europe, but this has to lead to more competitiveness, more jobs and more clout for the European Union.”
Mrs Merkel went on: “It is not about the slogans but what lies behind them.
”I am talking about this with the French president.”
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani told Politico he also had misgivings.
He said: “We already have a controversy about the two seats of the European Parliament.
“What would the new parliament be? Sitting where? With what powers? I don’t think we need yet another parliament, perhaps with a third seat.”
Sabine Thillaye, head of the French European Affairs Commission, told Politico Mr Macron also wanted to build a European version of the grassroots movement En Marche that swept him to power.
And Mr Macron hopes to have a European version in place before the European Parliament election in 2019.
Ms Thillaye told the website: “We are trying to establish links with other European parliaments.
“It’s not yet clear who is going to be favourable to our initiatives.”