Emmanuel Macron's reform proposals risk returning the European Union to an outdated agenda of political integration, European Conservatives and Reformists group Co-chairman Syed Kamall warned today.
Responding to the French President's address to the European Parliament, Conservative MEP Mr Kamall said that while agreeing on the need to shake up the EU, the ECR group could not support future plans for a bigger budget, harmonised corporate taxes, a unified social policy, a common asylum policy or a European minister of finance.
He pointed out that both President Macron's movement and the ECR group were created "to offer voters an alternative to the long-standing and stale political establishment." But they differed on how that should be achieved.
Mr Kamall said: "President Macron, we understand why you are seeking to regain the initiative. My group agrees that the EU has drifted for too long.But by returning to the 1950s agenda of political integration you may be in danger of ignoring those who wantan EU to face the challenges of the 2050s not the 1950s.
"The growing dissatisfaction amongst voters has not been because the EU has had too little power, but because it has too much.Countries signed up for cooperation in key areas of mutual interest with their EU neighbours, not to see more and more decisions made in one city on the other side of the continent.
"That is why the ECR group believes that EU should facilitate nations to cooperate where necessary but return powers to Member States and local communities in areas such as immigration and social policy
"We believe that common sense, proportionate regulation rather than more political integration will allow businesses, farmers, fishermen and entrepreneurs to compete in global markets.
"Mr President, what you propose is revolutionary but should come with an honest disclaimer in large letters, bold and underlined, that Member States will become less and less sovereign as the EU becomes more and more powerful."
Mr Kamall added: "Whilst I may be one of a number of MEPs who will not return to this chamber after the 2019 elections, the ECR group will continue to fight for a vision of a reformed European Union, continuing to oppose calls for ever more political integration.
"But where there is common ground,the ECR group hopes to work with you to shape a reformed European Union which respects all Member States and their citizens. "