Emmanuel Macron

Macron proposes ‘radically new path’ for France in Europe that has ‘lost its way’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 July, 2017, 11:22pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 August, 2017, 5:21pm

French President Emmanuel Macron said his country was ready to embark on a “radically new path” after presidential and parliamentary elections swept him and his new centrist party into power.

“Until now, we were on the wrong track,” Macron said in an address to both houses of the French parliament. “We preferred rules to initiative.”

Macron called for a “new generation of leaders” to revive the European Union, saying the bloc had somehow lost its way.

“The building of Europe has been weakened by the spread of bureaucracy and by the growing scepticism that comes from that,” he said. “The last 10 years have been cruel for Europe. We have managed crises but we have lost our way.”

He announced Europe-wide public events planned for later this year to try to reinvigorate the post-Brexit EU. He also said he would end France’s state of emergency, which has been in place since the attacks on Paris by extremists in 2015.

“I will re-establish the ­freedoms of the French people by lifting the state of emergency this autumn, because these freedoms are the precondition of the existence of a strong democracy,” he told lawmakers.

The French leader last month set out a tough new antiterrorism law designed to allow the lifting of the state of emergency, which has been extended five times.

The current provision expires in mid-July, when Macron’s new centrist government is expected to extend it again until November 1 while the new law is prepared.

The legislation has received the go-ahead from France’s top administrative court despite ­concerns from rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that it will enshrine into law draconian powers allowed under the state of emergency. Amnesty complained last month that French authorities were abusing antiterrorism measures by using them to curb legitimate protests.

The new anti-terror law would give French authorities greater powers to act to protect an event or location thought to be at risk from attack, without needing ­permission from the courts.

The draft law would also allow places of worship thought to be promoting extremism to be shut down for up to six months.

Meanwhile, a man has been charged with plotting to assassinate Macron at the Bastille Day military parade which the French leader is set to attend with US President Donald Trump, a judicial source said yesterday.

The 23-year-old is a suspected far-right extremist who told investigators he wanted to kill Macron at the July 14 national day parade in Paris, a source close to the investigation said.

Police arrested the man last Wednesday in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil after being alerted by users of an internet chat room where the suspect allegedly said he wanted to buy a gun. Analysis of his computer found he conducted internet searches as research for his plot, the source said.

Agence France-Presse, Associated Press