STRASBOURG (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron issued a name to Europeans on Tuesday to not retreat into nationalism however to construct the European Union as a bulwark for liberal democracy towards a disorderly and harmful world.
Addressing the European Parliament within the French metropolis of Strasbourg, the 40-year-old head of state gained a standing ovation from most lawmakers after condemning the rise of “intolerant democracies” even inside the EU. Nationalist MEPs from France, Britain and elsewhere sat in silence, nonetheless.
“Within the face of authoritarianism, the response shouldn’t be authoritarian democracy however the authority of democracy,” Macron stated, in a transparent reference to the newly re-elected Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and to Poland’s ruling get together.
“Egocentric nationalism” was gaining floor, Macron warned, referring to an environment of “civil warfare” in Europe. But it surely was an phantasm, he argued, to say a return to nationwide sovereignty on the expense of shared EU powers would supply the reassurance voters wished in a world of authoritarian powers — an obvious reference to nations corresponding to Russia or China — and highly effective multinational firms.
Calling for fellow EU leaders to comply with his instance in launching a public dialogue on Europe’s future, Macron stated the EU required reform to strengthen what he referred to as “European sovereignty” on the planet.
With a bit over a yr till the subsequent elections to the European Parliament, he lamented the truth that fewer than half of EU residents bothered to vote in earlier such ballots.
Macron ran by way of his want record for deeper EU integration as lengthy sceptical Britain prepares to depart subsequent March. This included new taxation of digital companies, extra assist for refugees, nearer cooperation in defence and a stronger frequent strategy to operating the EU’s single foreign money.
On the euro, he faces an uphill battle in convincing his key allies in Germany, the place conservative supporters of German Chancellor Angela Merkel are pushing again towards giving Brussels extra energy that would value German taxpayers’ cash.
European Fee President Jean-Claude Juncker, talking after Macron, cautioned towards too nice a deal with the Franco-German partnership or “motor” that lies on the coronary heart of the EU undertaking. The previous Luxembourg premier famous that, as soon as Britain leaves, there’ll nonetheless be 27 member states within the Union.
Nonetheless, he gained loud applause in declaring his enthusiasm for the way in which Macron, after his shock election a yr in the past, has put strengthening the EU on the coronary heart of French coverage after years wherein Paris appeared to battle for affect.
“The actual France is again,” Juncker declared. “Tomorrow’s historical past is being written right now.”
Further reporting by Michel Rose in Paris; enhancing by David Stamp