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22/01/2017

Macron: German response to refugee crisis ‘saved Europe’s dignity’

Elections

Macron: German response to refugee crisis ‘saved Europe’s dignity’

Emmanuel Macron praised Angela Merkel for her decision to open the borders to refugees.

[Frederic Legrand - COMEO/Shutterstock]

The Europhile candidate for the French presidency has congratulated Germany for saving Europe’s collective dignity by opening its arms to refugees. EurActiv France reports.

In an editorial published on Monday (2 January) in Le Monde, Emmanuel Macron said he believes German society, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, “saved” the “collective dignity” of the European people by taking in hundreds of thousands of refugees.

“Chancellor Merkel and German society as a whole lived up to our shared values; they saved our collective dignity by taking in refugees in distress, housing and educating them,” the former minister for economy said.

Germany hosted 890,000 refugees in 2015 after the chancellor decided to open the country’s borders.

Referring to the deadly attack on a Christmas market in Berlin on 19 December, Macron said he “admired” the “serenity and unity” with which German society had responded.

Macron positions himself as France’s europhile presidential candidate

Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche movement is gaining momentum, but he has yet to officially launch his 2017 presidential campaign. The minister is the only potential presidential candidate to put Europe at the heart of his message. EurActiv France reports.

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The leader of the new political movement En Marche went on to say he would not tolerate the “rebuilding of walls in Europe, which has already suffered too much” and that he would try to avoid generalisations “after the sinister violence against women last year in Cologne”.

“Nothing is more wrong than (the) abject simplifications” made by those who say that “by opening the borders to migrants, the chancellor exposed Europe to severe dangers”, he said.

There was just one criticism nestled in all this praise: “When Italy was left alone to face the arrival of refugees in Lampedusa, to the point where Pope Francis felt moved to intervene, neither France nor Germany were there to help.”

For Macron, France and Germany have “never before […] needed to show their solidarity” and assert their “shared destiny” so badly.

A supporter of a “Europe of sovereignty,” Macron is campaigning for the Schengen agreement to be preserved despite the threat of terrorism, for the EU’s external borders to be strengthened, for cooperation agreements to be struck with the refugees’ main countries of origin and transit, and for the creation of a shared intelligence service.

Emmanuel Macron unveils plans to ‘bring European democracy to life’

Though not yet an official candidate for the French presidential elections, Emmanuel Macron this week (4 October) presented plans for sweeping changes to the French – and European – system of representative democracy. EurActiv France reports.

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