France’s Macron urges EU to shun nationalism

Outgoing French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron attends a news conference after his resignation, at Bercy Finance Ministry in Paris, France, August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that “there seems to be a European civil war” between liberal democracy and rising authoritarianism.

He urged the EU to renew its commitment to democracy, in a passionate speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

“I don’t want to belong to a generation of sleepwalkers that has forgotten its own past”, he said.

Populists dominated recent elections in states like Hungary and Italy, fuelled by the continuing EU migrant crisis.

Hungary’s right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban returned to power with a landslide victory earlier this month while Eurosceptic parties caused a political earthquake in Italy in March.

Mr Macron and his liberal La République en Marche (LREM) party triumphed in France’s elections last year with a strongly pro-EU platform.

However, the French polls saw record numbers of voters staying away, with turnout of less than 50% at both rounds of the parliamentary election.

 

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