France, European allies drawing up plans to bolster economic sovereignty

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Dutch Finance Minster Wopke Hoekstra speak to journalists before a working lunch at the Bercy Finance minstry in Paris, France, May 11, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

PARIS (Reuters) - France and its European allies plan to submit proposals to the European Commission that are designed to strengthen Europe’s capacity to defend its economic interests, France’s finance minister said on Friday.

“There is a realization among all European states what we cannot keep going in the direction we are headed today whereby we submit to American decisions,” Bruno Le Maire told reporters when Europe’s response to U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Europe needed to toughen rules dating back to 1996, he said, adding: “France, together with other European partners, hopes to present proposals to the European Commission which go in this sense.”

Reporting by Richard Lough and Leigh Thomas; Editing by Luke Baker