French President Emmanuel Macron published an op-ed last night in the media addressed to European citizens in 28 European countries calling for a series of reforms to the European Union ahead of the European elections in May.

“Macron has attempted to again kick start an ambitious conversation about necessary EU reforms three months ahead of the elections with his call for a European Renaissance. Whilst we agree with Macron on the urgent need to reform Europe, we are less enthusiastic regarding the list of his proposals. While Macron likes to position himself as the defender of a liberal society against those forces trying to bring us back to the dark ages, he has not been successful in convincing French citizens that he understands their concerns. He pushed social and environmental policies inconsistent with his clam to ‘make the planet great again’,” said the European Green Party co-chairs Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer reacting to Macron’s initiative.

“By now adressing European citizens in all 28 member states directly asking them to support some very French positions, on one hand Macron tries to enhance his European profile and on the other wants to be seen by French voters as their champion still. Macron’s initiative is a campaign move, which is fine, but it is unclear how much it will indeed be helpful to achieve the proclaimed goals. This is because Macron’s reform ideas are heavy on the intergovernmental side and do not sufficiently emphasize the necessary strengthening of democracy at European level. What we like about Macron’s move is his willingness to talk about more than business as usual. He clearly wants to go beyond everybody’s comfort zone. That is needed and welcome. And it is such a shame that other governments are too timid to even consider starting the same kind of difficult conversations that we have to have over Macron’s ideas. At least he does present them. We Greens offer Macron a battle of ideas. We are willing to explore what unites us and what divides us in moving the EU forward,” the co-chairs of EGP added.

“We would be happy to start such a battle of ideas by first focussing on industrial policy. It’s certainly time for Europe to radically overhaul its industrial policy with a Green New Deal that has sustainable environmental and social practices at its core rather than pursuing policies that pretend to be pro-business, but would in fact put our future in jeopardy,” Frassoni and Bütikofer concluded.