Saturday

10th Dec 2016

Focus

Hollande warns voters not to fall for anti-EU rhetoric

French President François Hollande intervened in the EU election campaign Friday (9 May) criticising anti-EU rhetoric as anachronistic and financially ruinous.

In a piece for left-leaning daily Le Monde, Hollande targets the far-right National Front – set to emerge top in the 25 May EU vote – although he never explicitly mentions the party or its leader Marine Le Pen.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He warned against those who "speculate on disappointment, play on discouragement by stirring up fear" and says leaving the euro – one of the National Front's flagship policies – would lead to inflation, "implacable austerity" and "national decline".

While he says the EU has not done enough to create jobs for young people and is often overly bureaucratic, Hollande says it is up to voters to fix the Union. "To exit Europe is to exit history."

His column offers no answers or proposals for the EU. Instead it refers to the EU's success as a peace project after World War II.

"Whom do we owe this incredible rebirth, this exceptional renaissance? The union! The union of citizens, the union of economies, the union of nations," he writes.

Quoting another socialist, former French president François Mitterrand in his last speech to the European Parliament, Hollande adds: "Nationalism means war! … Europe means peace."

The president also notes that the EU vote will be different this time round. He writes that for the first time "voters, with their ballot, will designate the future president of the European Commission".

"How many (voters) know that?"

The strongly pro-EU message contrasts deeply with the current popular and political sentiment in France.

According to a CSA survey published this month, 51 percent of the French still back EU membership. Ten years ago it was 67 percent.

Meanwhile Hollande himself has the lowest approval rating of any French president and his Socialist party suffered heavy losses in recent local elections. By contrast, the National Front won 11 mayoral posts – an unprecedented result.

EU parliament approves Juncker commission

MEPs have approved Juncker's new EU commission, with a slightly smaller majority than in 2010, and following a number of concessions on portfolios.

News in Brief

  1. Council of Europe critical of Turkey emergency laws
  2. Italian opposition presses for anti-euro referendum
  3. Danish MP wants warning shots fired to deter migrants
  4. Defected Turkish officers to remain in Greece
  5. Most child asylum seekers are adults, says Denmark
  6. No school for children of 'illegal' migrants, says Le Pen
  7. Ombudsman slams EU Commission on tobacco lobbying
  8. McDonald's moves fiscal HQ to UK following tax probe

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Use Bioenergy Coming From Forests in a Sustainable Way?
  2. Counter BalanceReport Reveals Corrupt but Legal Practices in Development Finance
  3. Swedish EnterprisesMEPs and Business Representatives Debated on the Future of the EU at the Winter Mingle
  4. ACCASets Out Fifty Key Factors in the Public Sector Accountants Need to Prepare for
  5. UNICEFSchool “as Vital as Food and Medicine” for Children Caught up in Conflict
  6. European Jewish CongressEJC President Breathes Sigh of Relief Over Result of Austrian Presidential Election
  7. CESICongress Re-elects Klaus Heeger & Romain Wolff as Secretary General & President
  8. European Gaming & Betting AssociationAustrian Association for Betting and Gambling Joins EGBA
  9. ACCAWomen of Europe Awards: Celebrating the Women who are Building Europe
  10. European Heart NetworkWhat About our Kids? Protect Children From Unhealthy Food and Drink Marketing
  11. ECR GroupRestoring Trust and Confidence in the European Parliament
  12. UNICEFChild Rights Agencies Call on EU to put Refugee and Migrant Children First