Hollande: EU must prepare for future

France’s beleaguered President responds to Front National’s European election win in televised address to the nation

25 May 2014

FOLLOWING crisis talks at the Élysée Palace today, President François Hollande has addressed the nation in a bid to regain some political ground in the aftermath of yesterday’s European election “earthquake”.

In a televised address to the nation, broadcast less than 24 hours after the level of the success of the Front National in the EU Parliament ballot became clear, President Hollande described the success of the Front National in the European Elections as a sign of “distrust of Europe, of government parties, of politics”.

He said that he recognised the “painful truth” of the election results, and also declared: “I am European.”

“It would be wrong to close our eyes to this reality,” he said in a short speech recorded this afternoon, but insisted that France’s future depended on being part of Europe.

"Europe can not advance without France," he said, insisting that he saw it as his duty to “reform France and redirect Europe”.

“Tomorrow, at the European Council, I will reiterate that the focus is on growth, employment and investment.

He said that “modernisation” and “simplification” was “the challenge of reforming the territorial organisation”, in France.

But he said that the EU also needed to embrace change. "Europe must prepare for the future,” he said.

Earlier, before the crisis meeting at the Élysée, France's Prime Minister Manuel Valls called the election result an "earthquake".

"Our country has for a long time been in an identity crisis, a crisis about France's place in Europ, Europe's place in our country," Mr Valls told RTL radio.

But, he said he doesn't plan to resign, and brushed off questions about whether France's parliament would be dissolved - as Front National leader Marine Le Pen demanded in a speech shortly after exit polls were announced on Sunday evening.

Image: France 2 / screengrab

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