French President Emmanuel Macron has lashed out at the French opposition, denouncing both the Left and the Right in the country as not being “pro-EU enough”.
Macron attacked his opponents’ “ambiguous” messaging on the European project during an interview with Le Figaro, with the statements being viewed as an attempt at boosting support for his government ahead of the 2024 European Parliament elections.
Speaking to the French media outlet, Macron targeted his most popular opponent Marine Le Pen and her Rassemblement National party, decrying them as “nationalist”.
“[She] was once in favour of leaving the EU and the euro currency,” he said, before accusing her of “contesting” the European Union.
Macron also claimed that the opposition on the Left was little better, claiming Socialist Party bigwig Jean-Luc Mélenchon was against applying EU treaties in France, something the President described as a “funny thing”.
He went on to insist that his own party was the only group ready to defend France’s “unique voice” and fight “the rise of extremists” on both sides of the political spectrum.
His rallying cry comes during a period of close relations between the French Government and the EU, with the Macron administration consistently backing Brussels’ desire for ever-greater power.
Both are largely on the same page when it comes to online censorship, for instance, with the government and European Commission supporting efforts to ban social media firms that break EU censorship rules.
It has not all been plain sailing, with EC internal market Commissioner Thierry Breton warning France recently not to encroach on the EU’s turf regarding those rules, insisting that online censorship was the domain of Brussels alone.
Breton, who is now said to be gunning for the position of European Commission President, appears to be pushing his luck in Paris. One anonymous senior official writing to Politico said the Eurocrat had lost the support of the Macron administration.
“Breton will never become the next Commission president,” the official said, adding: “Macron doesn’t want it”.