The Belgian leader insisted that with the Brexit talks underway Europe stands at a crossroads and must decide which model it chooses for the future.
"We must decide clearly what we wish to do together, with whom and how." He added that competition among member states sometimes acted as a break on growth. The premier pointed to different countries that offer large multinationals tax breaks if they house their EU HQ there. Mr Michel's pronouncement on the plight of the Belgian grocer attracted extensive applause.
The Belgian leader also argued in favour of strict, but fair migration policies: "Migration is of all ages. Belgium is eager to pursue a humane policy, but must clamp down hard on illegal migration that funds people-traffickers and causes human tragedies.