Macron’s EU Renewal Call Lambasted by Rightist, Leftist Opposition Leaders in France
The French leader has been accused of reiterating cliches from a “stupid, moribund” Europe.
It seems that Macron’s address has been received more positively by German politicians, including by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor as ruling conservative party leader, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK) who also outlined her vision for the EU in an op-ed.
The leaders of France’s left- and right-wing parties, however, have reacted with scathing articles of their own to Macron’s public appeal for a European “renaissance”, saying the President was offering “more of the same platitudes of the past”, France24 reports.
“[Macron’s proposals] show the same blindness in the face of Europe’s impasse”, wrote Laurent Wauquiez, leader of the right-wing Les Républicains party, in an opinion piece for Le Monde entitled “There is another way for Europe.”
“Rather than questioning, [he proposes] a leap forward towards more of a Europe that does not work,” the conservative leader said, arguing that Macron’s talk of “pro-Europeans and anti-Europeans, progressives and nationalists, saviors and destroyers, with nothing in-between” offered false binary choices.
“What is striking is that these incantatory slogans are repeated continuously over the years: rebuilding the Schengen area, creating a social Europe … Words that end up saying nothing in this era of scepticism,” said Wauquiez.
“If France truly wants to rebuild Europe, it must first renew itself. Our calamitous economic management, our inability to reform and reduce the excesses of public expenditure, make France the sick man of Europe,” he argued.
“And it is unthinkable that our partners would accept lessons from a president who is, this year, the leader of the country with the highest public deficit in the entire euro area. If France wants to rebuild Europe, it must start by cleaning its own house,” the Les Republicains leader said.
He argued critics of the EU were not in fact anti-EU but in fact trying to figuring out a better way forward for the Union.
“The French are not against Europe; they are against what she has become. They do not want to leave Europe; they want to change Europe. They have been saying this, louder and louder, for years. And the only answer they get is either more of the Europe that you do not want or no Europe at all. It’s time to break out of this sterile, binary viewpoint,” Wauquiez elaborated.
In an even more scathing reaction filled with radical rhetoric, French far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, head of the France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party, accused the President of using a torrent of “clichés” peppered with “Russophobic paranoia” in his EU renewal address.
“All our ecological and social miseries have their origin in the content of these treaties,” Melenchon wrote in an op-ed for the Liberation, entitled “Get out of the treaties, Stupid!”.
He argued that the EU agreements locked down the European nations inside a system perpetuating the free market and Transatlanticism.
“They codify an inability to invest in ecological transition, the dismantling of the welfare state and financial influence in democracies. Designed to offer a permanent celebration of finance, they make the mutual aid and solidarity between peoples impossible,” Mélenchon wrote of the treaties.
“[It is time to speak the] only truly international language that can motivate common cause among peoples who are diverse in their history, languages and cultures. That is the language of defending and expanding the common good,” Melenchon wrote referring to social rights and public services.
“We are all threatened by a system of production and exchange that destroys the Earth and human beings,” the far-left leader said.
“If there is a need for a renaissance in Europe, it is that of sovereignty of the people, that of luminaries against the obfuscations of money and rival religious beliefs,” he added.
“At a time of mass social suffering and ecological disaster, people can no longer have leaders that say one thing and do the opposite. Emmanuel Macron’s letter offers one such example,” Melenchon said.
He further argued that the fear and mistrust some Europeans feel towards Russia is “absurd”.
“[Threat to democracy] does not come from Moscow, but from Paris, from a president who has led a fierce crackdown on Yellow Vest protests for the past 17 weeks”, the leftist radical said.
“For the peoples of Europe, a change of direction is urgent,” Mélenchon wrote, accusing politicians such as Macron and Merkel of epitomizing the old “stupid, moribund” recipes for Europe.
(Banner image: Elysee Palace on Twitter)