President Emmanuel Macron said he would be open to seeing a major French bank being taken over by a European Union rival in order to spur the deeper financial integration he sees as critical for the bloc’s future prosperity.

"Dealing as Europeans means you need consolidation as Europeans,” Macron said in an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait on the sidelines of the Choose France investment summit in Versailles near Paris. "We have now to open this box and to deliver a single-market approach which is much more efficient.”

As Europe comes to terms with Russia’s war in Ukraine and the steady deterioration of the global trading system, Macron has been trying to persuade his EU partners to embrace what he sees as a transformative program of reforms to turn the EU into a more united and powerful economic force. Only by getting smarter about protecting its interests, cutting back on regulation inside the single market and unlocking the bloc’s financial firepower, Macron argues, does the EU have a chance of going toe-to-toe with China and the U.S..