French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg on Tuesday in a speech laying out his vision for Europe’s future.

Responding to the speech European Green Party co-chairs Reinhard Bütikofer and Monica Frassoni said:

“In this address to the European parliament and in his subsequent discussion with members of the European Parliament, French President Macron demonstrated his strong ambition to move European reforms forward, as well as his will to have open debate about the agenda and his readiness to engage earnestly in debate with a wide range of pertinent views.

“Macron did not waste much time with empty rhetoric.  He focused on policy and tried to make at least one proposal for every problem he acknowledged. Macron did not openly mention the opposition from several member countries, including Germany against its reform ideas, but he was clearly understood as signaling that he had no appetite for waiting until the laggards start moving.

“Macron argues in favour of the Europe of sovereignty which he explains as a multidimensional project.  His core argument was that the people of Europe will not be able to defend their sovereignty if they don’t do that together.  He was also full of scorn for those that represent a Europe of navel-gazing and a Europe of business-as-usual.

“As regards the Spitzenkandidaten for the upcoming EU elections, Macron was understood as moderating his opposition he has so far displayed, explicitly calling it a good model that should be improved by combining it with transnational lists. On that account, Greens clearly agree with him as we did for instance regarding his proposal to offer financial support from the European Union to such municipalities that are willing to accept refugees.  We were also happy to hear him advocate for a higher European budget and more own resources to finance that.

“However, Macron left the door open to ambiguity with his interpretation of sovereignty.  Real European sovereignty must mean the strengthening of Europe’s common institutions.  As Greens, we will continue to fight for a Europe that offers sustainability at its core and guarantees that future generations can benefit from the same opportunities we have been afforded.

“Macron must ensure that his focus on European sovereignty does not cloud his judgement on the need to uphold migrants’ fundamental rights.  Reports on police aggression and the heavy-handed removal of migrants in France are extremely worrying and cannot be tolerated. He must guarantee that his words match his deeds.

“Peace is at the heart of the European project and we welcome his appeal when he said “I don’t want to belong to a generation that forgets about our history; I want to belong to a generation that engages for our democracies because these are the fruits of past battles.”  Macron’s visit to the European parliament was, notwithstanding all policy differences that do exit, a meaningful, forward-looking and encouraging event.”