French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday proposed a series of reforms within the European Union ahead of EU elections in May.
“In a few weeks’ time, the European elections will be decisive for the future of our continent,” Macron wrote in an opinion piece published across Europe.
“Never, since the Second World War, has Europe been as essential. Yet never has Europe been in so much danger,” he said.
The next elections to the European Parliament will be held between May 23 and 26.
Macron termed Brexit as the crisis of Europe “which has failed to respond to its peoples’ needs for protection from the major shocks of the modern world”.
“It also symbolizes the European trap. The trap is not being part of the European Union. The trap is in the lie and the irresponsibility that can destroy it. Who told the British people the truth about their post-Brexit future?” he said.
Macron stressed the need to “politically and culturally reinvent the shape of our civilization in a changing world”.
“It is the moment for European renewal,” he said.
“Resisting the temptation of isolation and divisions, I propose we build this renewal together around three ambitions: freedom, protection and progress.”
He proposed creating a European Agency for the Protection of Democracies “which will provide each Member State with European experts to protect their election process against cyber attacks and manipulation”.
“In this same spirit of independence, we should also ban the funding of European political parties by foreign powers.
“We should have European rules banish all incitements to hate and violence from the Internet since respect for the individual is the bedrock of our civilization of dignity,” he said.
Macron also called for rethinking the Schengen area, saying “all those who want to be part of it should comply with obligations of responsibility [stringent border controls] and solidarity [one asylum policy with the same acceptance and refusal rules]”.
“We will need a common border force and a European asylum office, strict control obligations and European solidarity to which each country will contribute under the authority of a European Council for Internal Security,” he said.
“It is for you to decide whether Europe and the values of progress that it embodies are to be more than just a passing episode in history. This is the choice I propose: to chart together the road to European renewal.”