French politicians have reacted with anger after Emmanuel Macron asserted that “true” Frenchmen and Danes “do not exist”, and attacked the people he rules over as stubbornly resistant to change while on an official visit to Denmark.
The French president made the remarks while on a three-day tour of Denmark and Finland, where he is hoping to establish a “progressive arc” of nations supporting his vision of a globalised EU superstate, which would revolve around a liberal conception of human rights, ahead of European Parliament elections next year.
Speaking before a gala lobster dinner on Wednesday, at which Denmark’s Queen Margaret was in attendance, Macron praised the Scandinavian nation as one which is “completely open to the rest of the world” compared with a France whose people he said showed a “Gaulish stubborn resistance to change”.
France has a “deep and complex identity, which has always been thought of as universalism”, the former investment banker said, before stating he believes he has succeeded in provoking “cultural change” in the native since his election last year.
“People are changing their minds, they are much more open to risk,” he told the event, which was broadcast on Danish television.
“You will see France transformed by its people.”
Asked by a Danish student about the future of national identities in Europe, Macron said that “the ‘true Dane’ does not exist — he is a European”.
“Even your language is not just Danish — it is European. The same is true for the French”, he added.
The president’s performance overseas attracted ire from French politicians including far-left populist Alexis Corbière, who accused him of having “not only shown contempt towards his own people” but also of displaying “an astounding level of stupidity”, tweeting that Macron was “ignorant of the fact the Gauls were great inventors”.
Meanwhile, National Rally leader Marine Le Pen commented: “In Denmark, Macron castigates the ‘Gaulish stubborn resistance to change’. As usual, he despises the French from abroad! The ‘Gauls’ will be happy to respond to his arrogance and contempt!”
Fabien Di Filippo, a National Assembly member for the Republicans — the leader of which this week announced that the traditionally centre-right French party would be taking a tough new line on mass migration — also hit out at the globalist leader.
“Between the denial of French identity and [his coining] a new insult to the French people, President Rothschild Emmanuel Macron has outdone himself again while in Denmark,” he posted on Twitter.