Macron pledged to turn the populist tide that is exploding in Europe
French President Emmanuel Macron has come under fire for likening the growing nationalism in Europe to “leprosy” as critics denounce the French leader for attempting to plant uncertainty into the public consciousness.
Centrist Mr. Macron has frequently pledged to turn the populist tide that is currently explosion across Europe and stand up to those who “spread words of hate,” but faces fierce resistance from his opponents.
French sovereignist Nicolas Dupont-Aignan warned the French President “needs a rest” before attacking Macron’s latest comments.
Mr. Dupont-Aignan told Europe 1 radio: “I think the president of the Republic needs a rest. He’s invented an imaginary enemy to manipulate public opinion ahead of the European elections.”
He added Mr. Macron is “insulting” nationalist leaders because of their “one flaw: they don’t think like him.”
Mr. Dupont-Aigna said: “It’s quite dangerous because he’s insulted European leaders who have been elected or re-elected democratically, namely the leaders of Hungary, Poland and Italy… Emmanuel Macron caricatures his opponents.
“These leaders are not Adolf Hitler. The real danger is the resignation of Europe in the face of Islamic terrorism. Emmanuel Macron doesn’t tolerate people who call into question the European Union, which does not work. And it’s not because he doesn’t agree with his so-called enemies that they are Nazis or nationalists.”
According to The Express: Mr. Macron on Wednesday warned against a rise in right-wing populism and encouraged Europe to resist the same political tendencies that grew in the 1920s after the end of World War One.
He told Ouest France: “In a Europe divided by fears, nationalist assertions and the consequences of the economic crisis, we see in an almost methodical manner the re-articulation of everything that dominated life in Europe from post-World War One to the 1929 crisis.
“Europe is facing a risk: that of dismemberment through nationalist leprosy and being pushed over by external powers, and therefore, to lose its sovereignty.”
Mr. Macron said Europe could lose its sovereignty for some reasons, including “having its security dependent on American choices and changes, China’s growing presence within essential infrastructures and a Russia that is sometimes tempted by manipulation.”
The latest clash comes as Europe gears up for crunch parliamentary elections next May, which has already been billed as a battle between pro-EU progressives and anti-immigrant nationalists.
National and regional elections across Europe have seen a surge in support for far-right and green parties, at the expense of the traditional center-right conservative and center-left social democrat parties, a trend that is creating messier, harder-to-govern coalitions with conflicting interests.
Stéphane Séjourné, a top strategist in Mr. Macron’s ruling La République en Marche (Republic on the Move) party, said to Reuters last week that the EU election campaign will “shake up the system” by tapping into increasing alienation among the mainstream left and right.
Mr. Macron said in August he would “give no ground to nationalists and those who spread words of hate” after the far-right leaders of Hungary and Italy jointly labeled him their “number one enemy.”