What is Macron’s political European community? How plans could involve Britain

Macron ‘has done nothing for five years’ says Ballard

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France President Emmanuel Macron made the comments on Monday as part of his speech to mark Europe Day. The 44-year-old told members of the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, that his new “European political community” would include both members and non-members of the European Union (EU), though he remained tight-lipped on details of how he would redraw the political map in Europe.

How would Mr Macron’s plan work?

While Mr Macron’s speech rarely made any reference to specific details, he did describe how his proposal would sit parallel alongside the EU, offering new appeal to countries looking to join the bloc.

Nations that have already exited the EU, including Britain, would be offered a “full place” in the community.

He said: “This new European organisation would allow democratic European nations adhering to our set of values to find a new space for political cooperation, security, cooperation in energy, transport, investment, infrastructure, and the movement of people, especially our youth.

“Joining it would not prejudge future membership in the European Union, necessarily, just as it would not be closed to those who have left.”

Mr Macron’s plans looked to be motivated by a desire to seek a resolution to countries such as Ukraine and Moldova who wish to become but, as of yet, are not members of the EU.

Kyiv is hoping to be officially granted EU candidate status at a European Council summit in June.

The French President said the “legitimate aspiration” of the people of Ukraine invites lawmakers to rethink how Europe is governed.

He added: “Ukraine, through its combat and its courage, is already today a member of the heart of our Europe, of our family, of our union.”

But at the same time, he also looked to have poured cold water on any hopes Ukraine has of being accepted into the bloc in the near future.

He said: “Even if tomorrow we granted them the status of candidate for membership of our European Union … We all know perfectly well that the process allowing them to join would take several years – in truth, probably several decades.

“And it is the truth to say this, unless we decide to lower the standards of this membership and therefore to completely rethink the unity of our Europe.”

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Mr Macron is not the first European politician to propose a plan which strengthens EU ties with its partner countries, such as Ukraine, before granting formal membership.

In April, ex Italian prime minister, Enrico Letta, floated the idea of a “European confederation”.

His plan would start with a shared “economic area,” before adding commitments and eventually including a common defence clause for countries who wish to join.

Mr Letta outlined that in practice European Council summits would be followed immediately by confederation hearings.

Another obstacle for Mr Macron to contend with would be his apparent strained relationship with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Officials from both London and Paris insist the pair have not fallen out but it’s thought they are yet to have spoken since Mr Macron won re-election last month.

The incumbent French President emerged victorious from a second round run off vote against his arch rival Marine Le Pen to secure a second five year term in office.

The duo have previously clashed over several issues relating to Brexit, such as the number of fishing licences handed out by the UK to French fishermen and arrangements over a new trade deal for Northern Ireland.

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