Over the last few years Emmanuel Macron has steadily increased his grip over the European Union by wooing member states and building up France’s influence within the bloc’s institutions. Now, the French President is ready to impose much of his own agenda on Brussels, including migration reforms, climate change initiatives and introducing a European minimum wage. His chief adviser Clement Beaune has revealed precisely what Mr Marcon’s plans are for the coming year and the EU’s long term future, which could send shockwaves across the globe.
Speaking to Politico, Mr Marcon’s European advisor revealed the French President has been able to push many of his key priorities into the European agenda.
For example fighting climate change, introducing a eurozone-wide unemployment benefits scheme and boosting the EU’s capabilities on defence – some of Macron’s own priorities – have all appeared on the new Commission’s strategic outlook.
But when pressed on what the French leader’s main priority was, Mr Beaune said it was migration.
He explained the EU’s inability to find a solution to the problem is an example of its “habit of inertia and indecision” on urgent issues.
France’s goal is to turn the ad hoc process used to distribute asylum seekers rescued at sea among EU countries into something more systematic.
The top aide also revealed Mr Macron wants to build up so-called European power, in order to wield more power on the global stage.
But Mr Beaune acknowledged the top hasn’t always been popular among EU members states.
He said: “Power has been seen in Europe as a kind of woe.
“Because it was a division of the Europeans, a war of Europeans against each other and a form of auto-destruction.
But he added: “Europe has to get used to wielding power itself.
“Europe is the only global bloc that doesn’t think of itself as a power or as a long-term project.”
In order to be in a position to push through his agenda, Mr Beaune said the French President had been laying the groundwork for years.
Since his election in 2017, Mr Macron visits 21 EU countries – some of which hadn’t received a visit from a French president in a decade — to build up a web of political alliances.
Mr Beaune said the idea was to create a “strategy of influence” and added: “Which means, ahead of a Commission decision, we can suggest ideas, go on a tour of capitals, make contributions, write papers with other countries.”
Mr Macron has also been positioning close allies at the helm of European institutions, and last year he stood allies at the helm of the European Central Bank and the European Council.
The French leader also masterminded Ursula von der Leyen’s nomination to the presidency of the European Commission, a key ally.
The French aide admitted Mr Macron’s hard-charging approach has the potential to create discord among member states.
He said: “Evidently, creating leadership also means creating friction.
“When the president speaks loudly, his objective isn’t to ruffle feathers.”
Over the last few years Emmanuel Macron has steadily increased his grip over the European Union by wooing member states and building up France's influence within the bloc's institutions. Now, the French President is ready to impose much of his own agenda on Brussels, including migration reforms, climate change initiatives and introducing a European minimum wage.