The French Finance Minister has told the French-German Business Forum that “Europe has to become an empire again.” Speaking candidly to the assembled delegates, the minister spoke to Macron’s vision of a united Europe, saying unification as an Empire has to occur “in the next 25 years.”
Describing a federal European empire as “European sovereignty” he told the conference that whilst it should be built “brick by brick,” “rapid progress” is needed. “We should be looking at weeks and months much more than years.” With Merkel announcing her support for a European army last week, the building of federal European sovereignty brick by brick looks well under way…
Read the extraordinary opening paragraphs to the Finance Minister’s speech in full below:
“Allow me to say straightaway to our German friends that it is time for Germany to respond to Emmanuel Macron’s proposals and come to a decision about Europe’s future.
EU as a “peaceful empire” / European sovereignty
Why? Because it’s a key issue. There is only one issue today for future generations: building European sovereignty between Donald Trump’s United States and Xi Jinping’s China. In my view this is the only real issue. Yet to take up this challenge, the only way forward is an agreement between France and Germany; everything else is illusions and projects which will be short-lived. Only an agreement between France and Germany can allow us to build this European sovereignty, which is our challenge, the challenge of our generation, the challenge of the next 25 years.
Europe has a choice: nationalism or sovereignty. France chooses sovereignty, and I’ll go even further: I think Europe has to become an empire again; a “peaceful empire” in the words of Tocqueville, but an empire nonetheless. Between the American empire and the Chinese empire, Europe must assert itself as a peaceful empire.
An empire has allies – the United States. An empire has rivals – China. An empire has enemies and Europe has an enemy which no one names but which kills on our territory and continues to pose a major threat to all our nations: this enemy is radical Islamism.
An empire has economic interests; an empire has ambitions. Our ambition must be to assert ourselves as the empire of human rights, the empire of the rule of law, the empire of sustainable growth, capable of combating global warming.
Finally, an empire has a culture, because there’s a European culture which is the sum of this huge diversity of national cultures which make up the richness of the European continent in the deepest, most powerful and firmly rooted way, centuries and centuries of intertwined, interwoven national cultures, which have spread geographically down the centuries and allow us to be what we are.
This is my personal firm belief: Europe has got to assert itself as a peaceful empire in the next 25 years.
Beyond these great ambitions, it is essential to build this peaceful empire and European sovereignty brick by brick.
To be able to do this, every nation must recover its credibility. I won’t spend too long on this: I’m not here to set out the government’s economic policy. But my deepest belief is that by recovering its economic credibility, France also recovers its political credibility. Nations which run up deficits, which have no answer to growth problems other than more public spending and are unable to innovate or invest are discredited nations. Nations which restore their public finances and invest in the future are nations which are listened to and respected.
And this is exactly what the President, Prime Minister and I want to do.
Building this European sovereignty then means strengthening our economic power. I think this is the first brick we’ve got to make rapid progress on. We should be looking at weeks and months much more than years.”