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Europe: Charlemagne Prize to Emmanuel Macron. “Nationalism is like leprosy in Europe”. Defend democracy and unity

Emmanuel Macron delivered a passionate pro-European speech after receiving the Charlemagne Prize medal in Aachen this morning. He responded to the tribute paid to him by German Chancellor Angela Merkel with four imperatives: first, to defend “European sovereignty”. “Others cannot decide for us”, especially if their decisions “threaten us”, Mr Macron stated. “If this happens, there is no longer a democratic debate”. The second imperative is an appeal: “Let’s not be divided”, even if “the music of nationalism is resounding everywhere”; division is “like leprosy in Europe”, it leads to “inaction”, to “a war of attrition”, indeed, “Europe can only work if it is based on constant solidarity, not on nationalism”. The third imperative is: “We are not afraid of our principles” and we will not compromise on democracy or the rule of law, both domestically and internationally. Thus we say “no to violence, and yes to democratic debate”. And finally: “Let’s not wait, now is the time to choose Europe” and to make a “clear” choice as “clear as demagogues and fears are”. Mr Macron in his speech also stressed the importance of “German-French unity” as a condition for Europe’s unity and the fact that monetary union countries can make the European project move forward. Ultimately, this project is not “yesterday’s symphony”, but a new piece of music to compose.

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