“ There seems to be a certain European civil war: national selfishness and negativity seems to take precedence over what brings us together. There is a fascination with the illiberal, and that is growing all the time,” Emmanuel Macron told MEPs.
In his first speech to the European parliament, the French president called for the defence of a European liberal democracy that offered protection of the rights of its minorities, and attacked those who took their countries out of the EU to pursue fairytale “adventures”.
A future without the UK.
Macron focus on the future without the UK, and the need for the 27 other EU member states to be united in opposition to the emergence of the nationalist authoritarian traits of the past.
“I don’t want to belong to a generation of sleepwalkers that has forgotten its own past”, he said. “In the future, we must struggle to defend our ideals… This is a democracy that respects individual minority fundamental rights, which used to be called liberal democracy, and I use that term by choice. The deadly tendency which might lead our continent to the abyss, nationalism, giving up of freedom: I reject the idea that European democracy is condemned to impotence”.
Macron defended the military strikes on Syria
In his defending on the military strikes by the US, the UK and France last weekend against the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons infrastructure Macron said “Do we sit back, do we defend [human] rights by saying: rights are for us, principles are for us, and realities are for others? No, no!” he said.
The speech was heartily welcomed by Jean-Claude Juncker, the European commission president, but received a lukewarm response from others, including Manfred Weber, the German MEP who leads the European People’s party, within which Orbán’s MEPs sit.