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European Union must avoid rupture with Turkey, France's Macron says

10 September 2017

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Friday accompanied French President Emmanuel Macron to the Stavros Niarchos Cultural Center where the two men were to chair a meeting of Greek and French entrepreneurs.

Her finance minister has proposed transforming the euro zone's rescue fund, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), into a fully-fledged EMF that would have more powers to support vulnerable member states.

"We should head towards a European Monetary Fund but this should in no way be mixed up with a (euro zone) budget", Macron told Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos.

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The euro zone is emerging from the near-decade-long economic and financial crisis that nearly ripped it apart.

Macron also said he backed the idea of giving Britain's 78 seats in the European Parliament to pan-EU representatives elected by all of the EU's citizens after Brexit. He praised Greece's austerity reforms but said ordinary Greeks had paid a heavy price. China's COSCO shipping, owner of the world's fourth largest container fleet, took a 51 percent stake in Greece's largest port past year.

He said he would unveil a "road map" for the EU in a few weeks, after Germany's September 24 election, and wanted European leaders to agree before the end of the year to launch public debates in the first half of 2018 during which citizens will be able to discuss their vision for the bloc.

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An analysis published on the day when Emmanuel Macron, on an official visit to Greece, explained that as he approached the first demonstrations against his reform of the Labor Code, he did not intend to yield to the pressure: " I will not yield anything to the idlers, to the cynics, nor to the extremes, "he thus assured in the garden of the French School of Athens.

Greece's third rescue programme, now financially supported by European Union states alone, runs to August 2018.

"I want Greece to continue to remain attractive, to open itself to global investors, and for Europe to fully support it in order to maintain European sovereignty".

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"We are at the right move in this direction whereby Europe will be able to resolve its own problems without necessarily seeking support from third parties", he said.

European Union must avoid rupture with Turkey, France's Macron says