The election of the president of France on Sunday is a matter for French voters. But it concerns every European citizen. The choice for us is clear. One candidate stands as a partner of other EU member states. One candidate stands for closing the frontiers of France to the rest of Europe. One sees Europe’s common currency as an advantage for France. The other seeks to return to a Europe of competing, rival currencies – the dream of the speculators everywhere and the destruction of the savings of French citizens who have worked hard all their lives.
One insists that Europe needs reforms, new energy, a new focus on social obligations, a Europe that makes jobs, encourages entrepreneurs, reforms tax and labour codes to put France on a par with the most efficient and dynamic of European and world economies. The other proclaims a nationalist conservatism which turns away foreign investors and shuts France out of markets around the world. One candidate reaches out to the leaders and people of other EU member states and offers France’s hand of friendship and partnership. The other is the candidate of Frexit and is keener to make friends with a network of anti-Europe propagandists emanating from dark forces to the east of the EU. One candidate is open to the cultural diversity of Europe as enriching France. The other sees nationalist culture and supremacy of the nation as the future of France.
So, as former ministers of Europe from different countries we have no hesitation in asking our many, many friends in France to cast their votes for Emmanuel Macron on Sunday for the future of France and Europe.
Hans-Martin Bury Germany, Peter Friedrich Germany, Mircea Geoana Romania, Günter Gloser Germany, Elisabeth Guigou France, Alain Lamassoure France, Noëlle Lenoir France, Gunnar Lund Sweden, Denis MacShane United Kingdom, Ramon de Miguel Spain, Antonio Monteiro-Martins Portugal, Dick Roche Ireland, Vicenzo Scoti Italy
• It was right that Emmanuel Macron went to Oradour-sur-Glane to remind people of what fascism means. When I visited the village 20 years ago, the bright summer sunshine only emphasised the ordinariness of the community which had been so brutally destroyed in 1944: the burnt-out doctor’s car on the main street, the one stored inside a house “for the duration”, the rusting bedsteads and kitchen equipment. But, above all, there was the glass coffin containing just a few of the bones from the 392 women and children burned alive in the locked church.
After liberation, Charles de Gaulle rightly ordered that the village should be preserved as a lasting reminder of the evil that was done there. Marine Le Pen is not a direct heir of nazism, but her father has shown the roots of the Front National and why it is so important that there should not be schism on the left and centre of the French electorate.
Let us all show solidarity with Macron.
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