skip to content

Cookies on the EU website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.


Macron defends the idea of European sovereignty


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


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.

Further information

Video of the debate (17.04.2018)

Future of Europe debates with heads of state or government in Parliament

Free photos and audiovisual products: Presidents of the French Republic and the European Parliament

Free photos and audiovisual products: Future of Europe

Audiovisual clips: arrival of Messrs Macron and Tajani

Audiovisual clips: introduction by President Tajani

Audiovisual clips from President Macron’s opening remarks

Audiovisual clips: extracts from the debate (questions and responses)  

Audiovisual clips: extracts from the debate (questions & responses) + final statement