VDL scrambles to win over French after alarming poll Without France, EU not as advanced

Ursula Von Der Leyen praises France for displaying EU flags

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has heaped praise on France amid growing concerns in Brussels that French voters are increasingly turned off by the idea of a greater European federation. Ms Von der Leyen has talked up the importance of France within the EU after a poll by Ifop-EuropaNova, commissioned by Le Journal du Dimanche, released on December 25, saw the majority of those asked called for an end to the bloc.

Ms von der Leyen told France Inter: “It is a good thing and it is important that the French presidency has chosen to display the colors of Europe.

“We were very excited to see the European flag displayed on the great monuments.

“And I know that France is very proud of its long history and its flag which symbolizes it, and without France, it must be said, the European Union would never be advanced as it is today.

“Me, I find France and Europe, it goes very very well together.”

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“I welcome the French presidency,” she added.

“The stakes are numerous.

“We must move forward on our proposals, in particular on the fight against climate change, the digital transition and the fight against the pandemic.”

Out of 1,022 French people asked, 40 percent – which was the majority – called for the EU to be replaced with a Europe of nations with great focus on French sovereignty. 

France: Commentator discusses rotating EU presidency

It comes as France takes up the revolving position of the EU presidency.

France 24’s Douglas Herbert believes the EU presidency will allow President Emmanuel Macron to project the image that France is punching above its weight diplomatically.

Mr Herbert told France 24: “Coming at this particular time his presidency and rotating presidency for six months, it’s manna from heaven for Emmanuel Macron, a candidate who ran as a staunch europhile in 2017.

“And he is eager to do anything really where he has an opportunity to put both France front and centre on that European stage and to basically have a showcase in which he can put forward all the views that he has been become known for as president that is a proponent of a more powerful and a more sovereign Europe on the world stage.

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“He believes that 2022 as we heard is going to be a turning point for Europe.

“And look, let’s you know, we have to be honest with ourselves Europe has been in many cases disarray, a lot of different policies, and there have been centrifugal forces if you will, pulling away at the seams pulling Europe apart at times.”

He continued: “Emmanuel Macron has been trying and it’s been sort of the centrepiece of his presidency has been trying to bring Europe back together to sort of find its centre of gravity.”

Mr Herbert added: “He obviously is not going to get all of that done, but look France always whether it’s Macron or another president love to be sort of seen or give the impression of being a country that is front and centre on the diplomatic stage.”

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