20:30 GMT07 April 2020
Listen Live
    Get short URL
    0 0

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - French President Emmanuel Macron has made a case for a multi-speed Europe, which envisions the idea of differentiated integration where "avant-garde" member states should lead the way in decision-making processes.

    "Europe has always worked like this. The avant-garde has been pursuing ambitions and pulling others with it," the French president said on a trip to Belgium.

    Speaking with students at the University of Louvain near Brussels, Macron argued that Europe should not be about the "biggest common denominator."

    "The big mistake is that we always want to make decisions as a group of 28, maybe 27 tomorrow after the Brexit. This is not right, this will never work," he said.

    Macron suggested EU integration should continue at two or three speeds. He cited the 19-nation euro area and the 26-state borderless Schengen zone as examples.

    "I am in favour of changing the treaties. We’ve reached the point when this needs to be done and we should not be afraid. The rule is simple: naysayers should not stop the others," he stressed.

    READ MORE: Fox News Jeers at Macron's Idea of 'Pacifist' Europe Creating "War-Like Army"

    Speaking about the issue, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said last February the union needed to simplify decision-making to stay relevant. EU's common foreign and security policy requires unanimity, while other decisions are made by a qualified majority vote.

    READ MORE: EU is Not and Will Not Become Military Alliance — Mogherini on European Army

    The French president has also called for other changes within the EU: he urged to create a European army for Europe to be able to defend itself 'independently of the US'. This stance triggered a diplomatic row with US President Donald Trump, who attributed Macron's suggestion to 'very low approval rating'. 

    avant-garde, Schengen Zone, European Union, Emmanuel Macron