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Emmanuel Macron likens EU to a country in ‘civil war’

French president warns MEPs about creeping nationalism across the continent

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned MEPs that the rise of nationalism may lead Europe to the abyss, adding that Europe was seemingly embroiled in a “civil war”.

Looking ahead, he proposed a citizens’ dialogue in the run up to next year’s European Parliament elections, in order for the people to make an informed choice.

The appeal was made during a plenary debate on the future of Europe at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Mr Macron acknowledged that the EU was facing unprecedented challenges amid new divisions and doubts, as well as the UK’s decision to leave the bloc.

“But there is doubt in a number of European countries. There seems to be a European civil war,” he remarked.

Mr Macron insisted that trying to forge ahead without taking stock of the situation was not an option. He warned that giving up on defending democracy in Europe would be a mistake even from a global perspective. “European democracy is the world’s best chance,” he said.

While sounding the alarm bells against nationalism, he said the response should not be authoritarian democracies but rather to assert the “authority of democracy”.

The French President said that truth must be central to any strategy to safeguard democracy. He said that stoking passions but not proposing alternatives, was no solution.

“Accusing Brussels of every ill is a fool's game which may be comfortable to engage in but which will not solve any problems,” he said.

Migration

In his address he also touched on the issue of sovereignty saying issues “the poisoned debate on relocation” and the Dublin regulations on asylum had been dragging far too long. While calling for concrete results on these fronts, Mr Macron spoke on his vision for more integration in the banking sector.

In his winding up comments, the French President made a rallying call to fight for democracy.

“I want to belong to a generation that has taken a firm decision to defend its democracy...European sovereignty and will not given in to any kind of any fixation on authoritarianism,” he told MEPs.

“We want a Europe of a living democracy,” he added.

Macron speaks to MEPs in Strasbourg, as Jean-Claude Juncker looks on. Photo: ReutersMacron speaks to MEPs in Strasbourg, as Jean-Claude Juncker looks on. Photo: Reuters

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