Mindful of the existence of right wing, nationalistic and authoritarian elements in Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron has compassionately reminded European Union (EU) nations to defend democracy, in his first ever speech before the European Parliament, at Strasbourg, France, earlier today.
Macron, the youthful 40-year-old leader, urged the EU to renew its commitment to democracy. He observed, as reported by the BBC-News, that because of divisions, "there seems to be a European civil war" between liberal democracy and rising authoritarianism, where "there is an increasing fascination with illiberalism."
Eurosceptics have risen in Italy. Authoritarianism is getting deeper in Hungary. And in Poland, a right wing government threatens the rule of law.
But the French President declared: " I don't want to belong to a generation of sleepwalkers that has forgotten its own past...democracy is a word with meaning which emerged from the battles of the past", he said referencing the benefits and developments democracy has ushered upon Europe since World War II.
Macron called for 'European sovereignty' to combat authoritarianism. "Faced with authoritarianism, the answer is not democratic authoritarianism but the authority of democracy," the French President affirmed. He urged EU nations to defend the values of liberty, equality and diversity that underpin the European model - one that is "unique in the world", French 24 reported.
The French President's compelling and compassionate defense of democracy before the European Parliament, prompted European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to declare: "The true France is back."
Macron's vision for Europe with support from a more cohesive and integrated EU could be successful in defending and protecting democracy even amid the prevalence of Russian meddling and the likes of Viktor Orban et al.