President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron addresses MEPs in plenary session in Strasbourg. © EP 

President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron debated Europe’s future with MEPs and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday.

"The European Parliament is, in my eyes, the seat of Europe’s legitimacy, its responsibility and hence its vitality. It is here that part of Europe’s future is being played out (...), here that we must anchor the renaissance of a Europe borne by the very spirit of its peoples. I wish us to move beyond the divides between North and South, East and West, small and large, and national setbacks", said the President.

 

"Our responsibility in the coming months is to hold the real European debate, to have real European deadlines that will enable our peoples to choose”, he told MEPs, one year before the European elections. To cope with upheavals worldwide, we need a sovereignty that is greater than our own, but which complements it: a European sovereignty”.

 

Welcoming Mr Macron, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said: "Thank you for taking part in a real debate with MEPs. The future of Europe is now and starts here, in the heart of European democracy. It's time to convert vision into reality together: controlled migration, a strong defence and foreign policy for a secure Europe".

 

Most of Parliament’s political group leaders welcomed President Macron’s pro-European élan and France’s role in the recent joint military intervention in Syria, whilst calling for more European Union and the formation of a European army. Other MEPs stressed the challenges facing the European Union today: fighting terrorism, managing the migration crisis, digital technologies and completing EU banking and monetary union.

 

To review the contributions, please click on these links:

 

Antonio Tajani, President of the European Parliament

Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic - Part one

Emmanuel Macron,  President of the French Republic - Part two

Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission

Manfred Weber, EPP

Udo Bullmann, S&D

Syed Kamall, ECR

Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE

Philippe Lamberts, Greens/EFA

Patrick Le Hyaric, GUE/NGL

Florian Philippot, EFDD

Nicolas Bay, ENL

 

Background

The President of the French Republic was the fourth EU leader to address the plenary on the future of Europe, after Irish Prime Minister  Leo Varadkar on 17 January, Croat Prime Minister  Andrej Plenković on 6 February , and Portuguese Prime Minister  António Costa on 14 March.  The next debates will be with Belgian Prime Minister  Charles Michel, and Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in May. Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany e, Angela Merkel will hold her debate with MEPs in November.