PARIS (Reuters) – French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron wants a two-speed Europe and sees a possible change to European Union treaties in due time, he told newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche in comments published on Sunday.
“We have to accept the idea that Europe will be made on a two-speed basis, with a union based on solidarity and differentiation,” Macron was reported as saying.
“The 28-member Europe must be simpler, clearer; more efficient and continue to advance on digital and energy issues,” the economy minister said.
“As to the euro zone avant-garde, it must go towards more solidarity and integration: a common budget, a common borrowing capability and fiscal convergence,” he added.
The 37-year old minister’s comments come days after Germany and France agreed plans to strengthen cooperation among euro zone countries without changing existing EU treaties, in a potential setback for British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The blueprint would bolster the 19-nation euro zone, of which Britain is not a member, by holding more regular summits of its leaders, strengthening the Eurogroup forum of finance ministers and establishing euro zone-specific structures within the European Parliament.
On treaty change, which has been advocated by David Cameron as he toured European capitals this week but had been ruled out by France so far, Macron said:
“What’s important is the project,” adding that he was not speaking in the name of the government and that only President Hollande could speak for France.
“Treaty change is a method that would ensue and that we have to prepare in due time. If we ask the questions today to the people, the answer will be no. We have to reconcile Europeans with Europe,” Macron, a former advisor to Hollande, added.
Le Journal du Dimanche said Macron and his German counterpart Sigmar Gabriel were working on joint proposals that they would make public later this week.
(Reporting by Michel Rose)