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Toxic tide of nationalism: Macron says Europe must 'wake up' to far-right as elections near

French President Emmanuel Macron gives a speech during the European Youth Festival "Fete de l'Europe" (Festival of Europe) in front of the Church of Our Lady (Frauenkirche) in Dresden, eastern Germany, on May27, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has called the rise of the far-right parties and governments in European politics an “ill wind,” urging Europe to “wake up” ahead of key EU elections.

"Everywhere in our democracies these ideas thrive, pushed by the extremes and in particular the far-right. This ill wind is blowing in Europe, so let us wake up," Macron said in a speech in the eastern city of Dresden on Monday, during his state visit to Germany.

Macron noted what he called a "fascination with authoritarian regimes" in Europe, singling out Viktor Orban's government in Hungary for criticism.

Macron described Europe as "not just a place where we give ourselves common rules," noting that "it is a set of values.

"We must find the strength and commitment to defend it everywhere," he added.

Macron’s trip, the first state visit by a French president to Germany in a quarter of a century, comes two weeks ahead of EU elections in which polls are indicating France’s far-right National Rally is extending its lead against his party.

The European Parliament elections in the EU are scheduled to take place from June 6 to 9.

The 27 EU countries have the elections on different days; for instance, the Netherlands has elections on June 6 while people in France will head to polls on June 9.

The 720 members of the European Parliament represent the interests of the approximately 450mn EU citizens at the European level.

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