EU Risks Breakup Without Social Dumping Reform, Says Macron

French President, Emmanuel Macron

The European Union (EU) risks breaking up unless it overhauls a controversial rule allowing firms to send temporary workers from low-wage countries to richer nations without paying their local social charges, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.

“Some political or business circles seek to use the EU’s funds while at the same time developing a system of social and fiscal dumping,” he said in Bucharest during a whistle-stop visit to eastern and central Europe.

“This will lead to the dismantling of the European Union” if there is no reform agreement at a Brussels summit in October, said Macron.

Macron made the remarks on the second leg of a three-day tour through Austria, Romania, and Bulgaria, as he seeks to drum up support for his ambitious reform proposals.

The so-called Posted Workers Directive has come under fire from wealthy nations like France, which argues that the rule amounts to “social dumping” in which payments to costly health and welfare systems are avoided.

Backed by Vienna and Berlin, Paris wants the job duration of detached employees to be limited to 12 months — half the period proposed by the European Commission.

France also demands greater efforts to fight fraudulent use of the directive, under which 286,000 people were employed in the country in 2015.

The topic has become a political hot potato pitting western EU members against their poorer neighbours in the former communist bloc, where most of the cheap labour comes from.

Eastern and central European governments say Macron’s proposals go too far and will undercut their competitiveness.

However, there were signs of a breakthrough after discussions with the heads of state of Slovakia and the Czech Republic in Salzburg on Wednesday.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico acknowledged that finding a solution would be “good news for the EU”.

AFP

EU Rule On Detached Workers Is ‘Betrayal Of European Spirit’- Macron

French President, Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that an EU rule allowing companies to send temporary workers from low-wage countries to other member states without paying local social charges was a “betrayal of the European spirit”.

Macron made the comment in Salzburg at the start of a three-day diplomatic blitz through eastern and central Europe, seeking support for his plan to overhaul the EU’s so-called Posted Workers Directive.

© AFP

French President Macron, Wife Host Rihanna

French President Macron, Wife Host Rihanna
Rihanna

French President Emmanuel Macron has met with pop star Rihanna at the Elysee presidential palace in Paris.

President Macron met with the 29-year-old singer on Wednesday to discuss her charity activities in healthcare and education.

The Barbadian singer of hit “Diamonds” founded the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012, a nonprofit organisation that promotes scholarship projects across the globe.

She was welcomed at the Elysee by French First Lady Brigitte Macron.

Rihanna, Ambassador of Global Partnership for Education, said: “Well, I just had the most incredible meeting with the president and first lady. They were incredibly welcoming to us, we focused on the topic of education from global aspects and we are going to make a very big announcement this coming September during UN week but we are going to do even more work this October in Africa.

“I was so inspired and impressed with his leadership and I can’t wait for you guys to hear where this is going to go but I think this is the year for education.”

On June 24, Rihanna asked Macron on Twitter if France would commit to funding education, a plea that was retweeted almost 30,000 times.

Macron Opens Bastille Day Celebrations With Trump As Guest

U.S. President, Donald Trump, was guest of honour at France’s annual Bastille Day commemorations in Paris on Friday.

The occasion, which also marked 100 years since the United States entered World War One, followed a day of talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, a tour of Paris for the two first ladies, and a dinner for the four at a restaurant in the Eiffel Tower.

Macron opened the parade on the Champs Elysees by standing in a military jeep surrounded by cavalry, repeating a scene from his inauguration two months ago and reinforcing the message that he heads an important military power.

The ceremonies brought to an end a visit Macron needed as a boost to France’s standing on the world stage, one which could also help a U.S. leader left short of international friends due to his stance on free trade and climate change.

Trump And Macron Discuss Climate, Boosting Security Cooperation

Trump, Macron Discuss Strengthening Security Cooperation

President Donald Trump held the door open to a reversal of his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate accord on Thursday but did not say what he would need in return to persuade him to do so.

Trump’s relationship with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron got off to a bumpy start, but both leaders have an incentive to improve relations.

Macron hopes to elevate France’s role in global affairs, and Trump, seemingly isolated among world leaders, needs a friend overseas.

The U.S. President came to France beset by allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Election, with emails released on Tuesday suggesting his eldest son welcomed an offer of Russian help against his father’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

Macron views it as counter-productive to isolate the United States on the world stage, adding that he and Trump had asked diplomats to draw up in the coming weeks, a concrete initiative aimed at preparing the future of Syria.

Trump will be the guest of honour at France’s July 14 celebrations, a year after a Tunisian man loyal to Islamic State ploughed a truck through revellers on a seafront promenade in Nice, killing more than 80.

Reuters

Paris 2024 Olympic Bid Embodies “Threatened” Values, Macron Says

French President, Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday described Paris’ bid to host the 2024 Olympics as the strongest defence of the Games’ values of openness, tolerance and respect for the environment, principles he said were at risk.

In its candidacy to host the 2024 Games, Paris is competing against Los Angeles, whose bid has been publicly backed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Macron has traded barbs with Trump over climate change policy, calling his decision to leave the Paris accord on climate change a mistake.

Trump was not present in Lausanne, though heads of state had never before attended this July meeting for Olympic bids.

Paris, which hosted the 1900 and 1924 Games, is bidding for the fourth time after having missed out on 1992, 2008 and the 2012 Olympics with Macron’s presence seen as key in this race.

The IOC will vote later on Tuesday on whether to ratify its executive board’s recommendation to award on September 13 both the 2024 and 2028 Games at the same time.

Paris is seen as the favourite to land the 2024 Olympics with Los Angeles having hinted they would accept 2028.

French President Macron Votes In Second Round Of Parliamentary Election

French President, Emmanuel Macron cast his vote in the coastal town of Le Touquet on Sunday in the second round of the country’s parliamentary elections, with opinion polls indicating his centrist Republic on the Move (LREM) party likely to win a massive majority in the lower house.

Macron greeted locals and posed for photos outside the polling station, and was applauded by some in the crowd as he voted in the election which comes just one month after the 39-year-old former banker became the youngest head of state in modern French history.

Turnout, though, could touch record lows, in a sign of voter fatigue after seven months of roller-coaster campaigning and voting, but also of disillusionment and anger with politics that could eventually complicate Macron’s reform drive.

Macron’s LREM party is barely more than a year old yet pollsters project it will win as many as 75-80 percent of seats in the 577-seat lower house.

Moroccan King Hosts France’s Macron

EU Door Stays Open To UK Until Brexit Concluded - Macron
Credit: politico.eu.com

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday met with Moroccan King, Mohammed VI at the start of a two-day visit to the Kingdom.

It is Macron’s first visit to a North African country since being elected President on May 7. He visited Algiers and Tunis during his campaign.

King Mohammed sent his congratulations to the new President on his election day, praising his “human and intellectual qualities” as well as his “choice for progress, openness and trust in the future”.

He expressed optimism that the French-Moroccan partnership would benefit from his election, especially in the fight against terrorism in the sub-Saharan region.

Reuters

May, Macron Announce Counter-terrorism Action Plan

May, Macron Announce Counter-terrorism Action PlanBritish Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron said they have agreed on an action plan on counter-terrorism that aims to remove radicalising material from the internet.

Both leaders made the announcement in Paris, as their countries have been hit by deadly Islamist militant attacks in recent months.

They met on Tuesday for a working dinner before together attending a France vs England football friendly match at the Stade de France stadium.

A minute of silence was offered to remember the victims of the London Bridge attack.

Reuters

EU Door Stays Open To UK Until Brexit Concluded – Macron

EU Door Stays Open To UK Until Brexit Concluded - Macron
Credit: politico.eu.com

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that the door to the European Union remains open to the United Kingdom until exit negotiations are concluded.

Asked at a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Paris whether he agreed with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, who earlier told Bloomberg that Britain would find “open doors” if it changed its mind, Macron replied: “The door, of course, is still open as long as Brexit negotiations have not been concluded, but a sovereign decision to leave the EU has been taken and I respect that decision.”

May said the timetable for Brexit negotiations remained on course with talks due to start next week.

The two leaders met for a working dinner before together attending a France vs England friendly football match at the Stade de France stadium in Paris.

Macron’s comments that it was not too late for Britain to remain inside the EU came as May faces a tug-of-war within her own party over her Brexit strategy, following a disastrous snap election which she called.

Reuters

Macron Welcomes Theresa May At Elysee Palace

British Prime Minister Theresa May was welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace on Tuesday for a working dinner.

The two leaders were expected to discuss counter-terrorism measures and Britain’s departure from the European Union.

They were also set to watch a friendly football match between France and England at the Stade de France.

Merkel Congratulates Macron On ‘Great Success’ In Parliamentary Polls

Merkel Congratulates Macron On 'Great Success' In Parliamentary Polls
Credit: politico.eu.com

The outcome of the French parliamentary election and the convincing win of President Emmanuel Macron’s young party dominated the German newspapers on Monday.

Projections after the first election round showed on Sunday that Macron’s fledgling party is set to trounce France’s traditional main parties in the election and secure a huge majority to push through his pro-business reforms.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel congratulated President Macron on the victory of his party, calling the result a strong vote for reforms.

People on the streets of the German city of Cologne on Monday morning said that they were especially pleased because Macron stood for Europe. Also, his apparent political unyieldingness was highly appreciated.

The vote delivered a further crushing blow to the Socialist and conservative parties that had alternated in power for decades until Macron’s election in May blew apart the left-right divide.

Pollsters project Macron’s alliance could win as many as three-quarters of the seats in the lower house after next week’s second round of voting.

But voter turnout was a record low for parliamentary elections in the post-war Fifth Republic at 48.6 percent, taking the shine off Macron’s margin of victory in the first round.

Reuters