In Dresden, French President Emmanuel Macron warns against right-wing extremism and calls for the defense of democracy.

Emmanuel Macron in the crowd.

Emmanuel Macron visits Dresden

DRESDEN afp | In his speech on European politics in Dresden, French President Emmanuel Macron warned against right-wing extremism and called for the defense of democracy. “An evil wind is blowing in Europe,” Macron told young Europeans on Monday, referring to authoritarian tendencies. A “fascination with authoritarian regimes” can be observed. “Right-wing extremism is a reality, we have to wake up,” Macron demanded just two weeks before the European elections.

Macron described the European Union as a “unique project in the world.” Dresden, destroyed by war and rebuilt and which he deliberately chose for his speech, is “a sign of hope.” Macron said he would not give his speech from Eastern Europe, but from the center of it, overlooking Dresden.

In the face of Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine, Macron said Europe is facing an “unprecedented moment in its history” that forces it to think for itself about “its defense and its security.”

A constant: Franco-German friendship

Despite all the changes, there is one constant: Franco-German friendship. “Germany can count on France, France can count on Germany, Europe can count on us,” Macron said, praising the relationship between the two states.

The French President began his speech in German and seemed honored and moved. “I feel particularly honored to speak here today as the first French president since reunification. “He moves me a lot,” he said as the crowd cheered him on. This is the first state visit by a French president to the Federal Republic in 24 years.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had previously declared ahead of the European elections: “We will defend democracy in Germany. “Europe lives when people want it to.” On Sunday, Steinmeier and Macron called on people in Berlin to vote in the European elections.

On Tuesday, Macron will travel to Münster, where he will receive the Westphalian Peace Prize. The state visit will culminate on Tuesday afternoon in a meeting of the German-French government in Meseberg.

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