NEWS

EU elections crucial for bloc’s future, says French ambassador

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European Parliament elections will be crucial for the future of the 27-member bloc, French Ambassador to Greece Christophe Chantepy said Thursday, while warning against the rise of populist nationalism.

“We all know that the Union is not perfect, but it nevertheless is our home. We are called upon to decide whether we want to maintain and improve our common home or whether we prefer to split it between small apartments so that each can get one of them,” he told a reception for media representatives in Athens.

More than 350 million adults will vote in May’s elections across the bloc. By proportional representation, they will pick 705 members to the European Parliament.

While warning against the growing influence of populism and nationalist demagoguery, the French diplomat stressed that these forces are not the only problem facing Europe today.

“Much of the responsibility for the Union’s problems lies with responsible governments… It’s not enough that you say you love European unity, you also need to turn your words into action,” he said.

“The European project will not get any stronger if you hesitate to establish a European budget… if you fail to tax internet giants and if you pick countries outside Europe for your defense procurements,” he added.

Chantepy also expressed his solidarity with Kathimerini and Skai TV over Monday’s bomb attack.

“Every attack on the press is an attack on democracy, because there can be no democracy without press freedom,” said Chantepy who visited the media group’s headquarters on Wednesday.

The French Embassy in Athens was targeted by a Greek left-wing urban guerrilla group in 2016.