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Europe

Macron calls for stronger EU to prevent global chaos

media French President Emmanuel Macron and German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier attend a wreath laying ceremony at the Neue Wache memorial in Berlin on Sunday REUTERS/Axel Schmidt

Emmanuel Macron called for the European Union to become more united and assertive to stop the world slipping into chaos. The French president was addresing the German Bundestag on the Day of Memory, that commemorates the victims of war and aims to build reconciliation and peace.

"Our world is at a crossroads," Macron told German MPs.

A week after celebrating the armistice that ended World War I he warned of a return to the traumas of the inter-war years.

The world can "rush, as it has before, into the precipice of the fascination for technique without conscience, for nationalism without memory and for fanaticism without restraint", he said.

"Europe, and within it the Franco-German couple, have the obligation not to let the world slip into chaos and to guide it on the road to peace," he went on. "That's why Europe must be stronger ... and win more sovereignty."

European elections

The immediate challenge for both Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to reverse growing opposition to their policies at home and fight off nationalist parties in next year's European elections.

The French president hopes to convince the Germans to back his proposals for a European tax on the Gafa (Google, Amazon, Facebook and Amazon) internet giants and then take up the harder task of winning the support of countries like Ireland, Sweden and Denmark.

He also wants the eurozone to have its own budget and banking union and has raised the controversial idea of a European army.

Europe must not "become a plaything of great powers, must assume greater responsibility for its security and its defence, and must not accept a subordinate role in world politics," he said.

A meeting of EU finance ministers will discuss the Gafa taxation plan on 4 December.

Macron hopes there will be a Franco-German united front at the next European Council on 13-14 December.

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