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.
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.