EU is a haven from world's dangers, Macron tells Europeans

From Reuters - April 17, 2018

STRASBOURG (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron issued a call to Europeans on Tuesday not to retreat into nationalism but to build the European Union as a bulwark for liberal democracy against a disorderly and dangerous world.

Addressing the European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg, the 40-year-old head of state won a standing ovation from most lawmakers after condemning the rise of illiberal democracies even within the EU. Nationalist MEPs from France, Britain and elsewhere sat in silence, however.

In the face of authoritarianism, the response is not authoritarian democracy but the authority of democracy, Macron said, in a clear reference to the newly re-elected Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and to Polands ruling party.

Selfish nationalism was gaining ground, Macron warned, referring to an atmosphere of civil war in Europe.

But it was an illusion, he argued, to say a return to national sovereignty at the expense of shared EU powers would provide the reassurance voters wanted in a world of mass migration, authoritarian powersreferring to nations such as Russia and Chinaand powerful multinational corporations.

We need a sovereignty stronger than our own, he said.

Far-right lawmaker Florian Philippot, a former National Front member, accused Macron of humiliating Frances historic statehood by playing to an audience of unrepresentative European elites.

Macron accused nationalist leaders of offering a game of fools in responding to voters concerns about the globalized economy by offering an illusion of a return to national power.

We must hear the anger of Europes peoples today, hesaid. They need a new project. Those who trade on that anger are risking nationalisms tearing Europe apart.



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