Macron Appeals for EU Unity in Face of Nationalism

Spreading student protests train strikes pressure Macron

Echoing Tony Blair's 2005 appearance at the European parliament, during which he tackled Nigel Farage head-on to rapturous applause, Macron picked out the Front National for comment. The plan is seen as a test of President Emmanuel Macron's determination to pursue a far broader raft of economic and social reforms during a term that runs to 2022.

"Some people call this the old Europe".

"I'm doing what I said I would", he told TF1 television during an interview last week, part of a media blitz to reconnect with voters and defend his reform agenda ahead of the anniversary.

"I am for the most integrated and closest possible relationship after Brexit, and there's a well-known solution - it's called European Union membership", he said. A decision to open membership talks would require all 28 member states' approval in June.

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While Macron laid out his lofty reform goals in a passionate speech to the European Parliament, Merkel's own party publicly pushed back against his proposals for a eurozone budget and an expansion of the EU's bailout fund.

"I was introduced to President Macron by Tajani ... as the "enfant terrible" of the European Parliament and Macron smiled and said 'I know, '" Farage said in a statement tweeted by his communications officer. 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 said.

However, he warned Macron that "Europe can not be just France and Germany", in reference to the prominence self-awarded by these two nations in the drive to reform the European Union, mainly in the context of the crisis caused by the exit from United Kingdom. Mr. Macron only has a year to change the dynamic before European Parliament elections, which in the past have yielded breakthroughs for anti-EU parties. Foremost, the uncertainty sparked by German elections in September set off months of negotiations in Berlin, leaving Mr. Macron without his principal European negotiating partner.

In his speech to European lawmakers Tuesday in Strasbourg, France, Macron will launch a drive to seek European citizens' opinions on the European Union's future.

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