Macron warns against nationalism in Armistice speech
President delivers strong message in 20-minute speech in front of 70 heads of state at Paris ceremony
President Emmanuel Macron declared 'Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism' in a pointed speech in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe as the world marked the centenary of the end of World War One.
In front of about 70 heads of state, including US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Russia's Vladimir Putin, Mr Macron said: "Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism: Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism. In saying 'our interests first, whatever happens to the others', you erase the most precious thing a nation can have, that which makes it lives, that which causes it to be great and that which is most important: its moral values.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May was at the cenotaph in London for the service there, but had attended a ceremony at Thiepval alongside Mr Macron earlier in the week. The UK was represented in Paris on Sunday by Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster David Lidington
Millions of soldiers died in the Great War defending the “universal values” of France, he said, rejecting the "selfishness of nations only looking after their own interests".
In a speech that lasted 20 minutes, he defended both the European Union and the United Nations, by insisting, that the "spirit of cooperation" they have helped developed has "defended the common good of the world".
He said they deserved protecting from "old demons [that] are resurfacing, resurfacing, ready to finish off their work of chaos and death".
"Sometimes, history threatens to retake its tragic course and threaten our heritage of peace that we believed we had forever settled with our ancestors’ blood. Let us vow to prioritise peace over everything."
He went on: “For four years, Europe almost committed suicide. Humanity had sunk into a hideous labyrinth of merciless battles, in a hell that engulfed all fighters, whichever side they were on, whatever nationality they had ... 10million dead, 6million injured and mutilated, 3million widows, 6 million orphans, millions of civilian victims.”
He later thanked all those who attended with the tweet: "Divided one century ago, United today. Thank you to every leader and guest who came to Paris from all over the world this weekend to build peace. We will not be able to say to future generations that we didn’t know. Peace is our treasure and our responsibility."
Divided one century ago, United today. Thank you to every leader and guest who came to Paris from all over the world this weekend to build peace. We will not be able to say to future generations that we didn't know. Peace is our treasure and our responsability.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) November 11, 2018
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