April 17 (UPI) — French President Emmanuel Macron urged the European Union on Tuesday to renew its commitment to democracy for protection in a world troubled by wars and authoritarian regimes.
During a speech to more than 700 lawmakers, the president pushed for a more united Europe, likening political divisions to a civil war and decried populist sentiment as “nationalist selfishness.”
“Nationalism will lead Europe into the abyss. We see authoritarianism rising all around us,” Macron said. “The response should not be authoritarian democracy but the authority of democracy.”
He mentioned Brexit, criticizing those who took their countries out of the EU to pursue fairytale “adventures.”
“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.
“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 said.
The president also proposed an immigration program that would subsidize local authorities that host and integrate refugees and touched on tightening copyright laws, limiting emissions and targeting giant tech companies for tax reform.