To create “a willing coalition”, bringing together those “with ambition for the continent.” This is the wish of French President, Emmanuel Macron, and the Belgian and Luxembourg Prime Ministers, respectively Charles Michel and Xavier Bettel.
Charles Michel commented, “There is a unique momentum for this such as we have not seen in recent years.” He went on, “For some years now, Europe has suffered crisis after crisis.”
The arrival of a new generation of European leaders, who are nearly the same age, and the same part of the political spectrum – liberal – has opened a further window of opportunity to relaunch the European project. The Luxembourg Prime Minister stressed, “We were not alive in the war and we love Europe – all three of us.”
The French President has drawn up a list of a dozen “fundamental points” which should enable the relaunch of Europe, Economic and Monetary Union, Social Europe, Defence, and other vital cornerstones to be properly implemented. He pointed out, “There is a particular responsibility, which falls on the shoulders of our generation, to relaunch Europe.”
The directions that Macron is suggesting agree with the proposals already made by the three Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg) on the margins of the Malta summit, at the beginning of the year.
The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, was absent on Tuesday evening in Luxembourg, where Charles Michel, Xavier Bettel and Emmanuel Macron met together. The three leaders were clear that Rutte’s absence does not signal anything abnormal in their relationship with the Netherlands or Rutte within the European project. Xavier Bettel asserted, “Benelux still operates as a grouping, and today’s meeting was not simply a select club of three neighbours.” He also stated that he had had his Dutch counterpart on the telephone just before the evening began.
Emmanuel Macron for his part stated that he will meet Mark Rutte on Thursday, in Paris, to discuss his proposals. The three leaders and their spouses were planning to dine together on Tuesday evening at the Château de Senningen, close to Luxembourg.
The Brussels Times