March 4, 2019 / 7:03 PM / 3 months ago

Ahead of EU elections, Macron unveils plan for "European renaissance"

PARIS, March 4 (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron has made an impassioned defence of a new Europe in a newspaper column published in each of the 28 member states in which he laid out his ideas for a “European renaissance” ahead of elections across the bloc in May.

Calling the vote “decisive” and warning of Europe being in danger, his words are intended as a wake-up call for the bloc as he seeks to push fundamental reform of the European Union.

Macron’s column coincides with rising tensions in the West, which has been shaken by U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policies and Britain’s departure from the EU. A more assertive China and Russia also pose major challenges.

A number of proposals made in the column which will appear on Tuesday in newspapers ranging from the Guardian in Britain to Die Welt in Germany and El Paris in Spain aim at protecting and defending Europe’s citizens while giving the bloc new impetus in face of global competition.

“In a few weeks, the European elections will be decisive for the future of our continent. Europe has never been as necessary since World War 2 as it is now and yet never has Europe been in such danger,” Macron wrote. “Nationalism offers nothing. It is a project of rejection.” (Reporting by John Irish and Marine Pennetier Editing by Bate Felix)

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