French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday called for a European programme to fund local authorities that house and integrate refugees.
In a speech to the European Parliament, Macron lauded European integration as the only way to regain sovereignty faced with global challenges such as migration, climate change, the growing digital economy, and the growth of authoritarian powers.
“In this world and in this difficult moment, European democracy is, I profoundly believe, our best chance,’’ Macron told European deputies.
Macron argued that the European Parliament should make progress on migration issues, digital taxation and reform of the euro zone before the end of its current term in 2019.
He said it should “unblock the poisoned debate” on relocation of refugees from states with high numbers of refugees to those less affected by migration movements.
“As well as on the EU’s controversial Dublin regulations which say that the state where an asylum seeker first arrived is responsible for dealing with their asylum request.
“But the parliament should also “go beyond this debate, by building the internal and external solidarity that our Europe needs.
“I therefore propose to create a European programme that gives direct financial assistance to local authorities who host and integrate refugees,’’ he stressed.
Macron argued that the parliament should also approve an interim proposal for tax on major digital firms to put an end to the most shocking excesses.
“And by 2019, a roadmap should be put in place for reform of the euro zone, including a budgetary capacity favouring stability and convergence,’’ he added.