Europe will never be ambitious enough with 27, says Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron set to speak at the World Economic Forum.
French President Emmanuel Macron set to speak at the World Economic Forum.
By Chris Harris
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Emmanuel Macron says countries in Europe that want more integration should not be held back.

France's President Emmanuel Macron says those who want to further develop the European Union should not be held back by countries who oppose it.


Macron, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said Europe would not be sufficiently ambitious with 27 countries.

“We [Europe] have to build our common policies,” Macron said, referring to a 10-year plan for the bloc’s future.

“I’m not naive. We will never build something sufficiently ambitious at 27. Honestly, I don't want to say it's impossible to build it at 27. It’s just that we have to first finalise the work we have at 27. 

"But you need more ambition for an opened avant garde of Europe to deliver on these critical issues. 

"We have to change our methodology, which is not to wait for all the people around the table before moving forward. 

"If some people are ready to be more ambitious to go further — in terms of integration and ambition of what makes you sovereign as a power in this global environment, to defend your values and your interests — then let’s move.

"The window on the door is open all the time. But those who don't want to move forward, should not block the most ambitious people in the room."

Watch Macron's speech in full

Macron's other key quotes

On education: "We need less arms and more brains. France has all the required talent in the country but people have to adapt to change and be trained."

On labour market reforms: "Education and new safety nets are important to protect people. But we need to be more flexible. That's why last summer we passed an important reform in terms of our labour market to align us with Germany and northern Europe, to have less rules by law and more rules by consensus."

On France and Europe: "France is back. France is back at the centre of Europe. We will never have French success without European success."

**On risk: **"In France it was forbidden to fail but it was also forbidden to succeed. It should be easier to fail and to take risk and reduce the costs of failure so if people fail come back and try something else. When we take risk, we need reward. It's the change we're making in France because it's a nation of entrepreneurs."

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