Chancellor Angela Merkel saved Europe’s “dignity,” says the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron.
Taking a unique position in French political discourse, Macron gave an interview to Süddeutsche Zeitung on Monday in which he praises the most politically damaging policy for the German Chancellor.
The 39-year-old politician says Chancellor Merkel and German society “saved our collective dignity by taking in refugees and providing them with accommodation and education.” However, he also regretted that neither France nor Germany stood in solidarity with Italy when the first refugee crisis started.
Addressing the link made by populist movements between immigration and terrorism, Macron spoke about a “hideous oversimplification.” He also spoke of the need to create a “sovereign Europe,” able to defend its citizens from outside dangers.
Macron is the most popular politician in France (35% positive), although that does not necessarily reflect voting intentions. He is running without the endorsement of a major party and in a climate of political polarization that overall favours anti-immigration rhetoric.
Macron resigned from President Hollande’s administration in April to run as an independent candidate and will not be seeking the nomination of the Socialist Party this January.