A German conservative member of the European Parliament has distanced himself from French President Emmanuel Macron’s sweeping plans for the European Union, calling his budget increase proposal “completely unrealistic,” Focus magazine reported in Saturday editions. Daniel Caspary, head of the German conservatives in the European Parliament, told the magazine that some additional funds were needed for additional European work on migration, securing external borders and a joint defence strategy. But he said Macron’s plans to triple the EU budget were “completely unrealistic,” and it was more important to use those funds that were already available in regional and structural funds more effectively by tightening conditions.
Even France could not achieve the budget increases that Macron and others had suggested, Caspary said. “I consider the scope (of the increases) that are being discussed as illusory.” Macron has said he wants the euro zone to have its own budget and finance minister, adding that it was key to ensure the stability of the single currency union and to weather economic shocks.
The comments by Caspary, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, were more detailed and critical than any comments made thus far by the German leader. Merkel has signalled her willingness to work with the French leader, but other members of her party are concerned that his ideas could turn Europe into a “transfer union” in which Germany pays for reform-wary southern countries. Merkel is busy trying to forge a new government after her party bled support to the far right in Sept. 24 elections, complicating the coalition calculus.