France's Macron pushes EU reform agenda at European Parliament

The French president is pushing for a series of reforms to deeper integrate the bloc as part of his vision for a “profound transformation” leading to a future without Britain, post-Brexit, as he debates the “future of Europe” with the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Delivering a speech to the EU parliament, Mr Macron accused members of having a "fascination with illiberalism" and said there has never "been a greater responsilbity" for the EU to act.
He said: "The context of this speech is really rather special. We have a context of division and doubt in Europe. Brexit continues.
"But there is doubt in a number of European countries. There seems to be a European civil war. There is a fascination with the illiberal, that is growing all the time.
There seems to be a European civil war
Emmanuel Macron
"Europe has an ever-greater responsibility.
"We are seeing the emergence of authoritarian powers with a clear strategy which seeks to call into question the multinational system where Europe takes its place.
"That's the framework which we built up to establish peace.
"At a time of great change and transformation, digital revolution, climate change. These also make us call into question the foundation of our society. They have led to fears and unbalances."
He called for Europe "to rethink the way in which we act" adding the "special responsibility is incumbent on us". 
Mr Macron said: "If we decide to give up on democracy and everything that goes with it, we will be on the wrong track.
"We need to build a new European sovereignty, which will give a clear and firm response to our citizens and show we can protect them and reply to what they’re concerned about. 
Emmanuel Macron EBS LIVE
Emmanuel Macron is ploughing ahead with plans to reform the EU
"This world European democracy is our best chance, the worst mistake would be to give up on our model and our identity."
Speaking directly to members of the parliament, he said: "You make this European democracy come alive everyday
"This is a democracy that respects individual minorities, fundamental rights which we call liberal democracy." 
He said there was a  "deadly tendency" which might lead the continent to turn to "nationalism and giving up of freedom". 
Mr Macron added to a raptrous round of applause: "I reject idea that EU democracy is condemned to impotence. We are seeing authoritarianism all around of us.
"The response is not authoritarian democracy, but the authority of democracy." 
The speech marks a year since the EU poster boy swept to victory in the French presidential elections.
Mr Macron, 40, spearheaded plans for the further amalgamation of the bloc during his presidential election campaign, with the plot to ratchet up the federalisation of the 60-year-old bloc’s core economies.
His speech is expected to reflect the self proclaimed role Mr Macron took to overhaul the troubled EU in the wake of Britain’s momentous Brexit vote.
At the age of 39 he became the youngest president in the history of France and came to power with the promise of major political renewal.
However the former banker’s ambitious economic reforms have failed to get off the ground and instead the French president has faced strikes as he leads a crackdown on French workers and protests against his leadership.
The French had pinned their hopes on the centrist, seeing him as the reformist as an antidote to the populist wave washing over Europe.
But so far Mr Macron's plans for the creation of new finance minister, budget and parliament for the Eurozone – an attempt to shore up the 19-member single currency have been slow to get off the ground.
The Frenchman is also calling for more common policies on defence, asylum, tax and even the creation of European universities.