Macron Calls for ‘Stronger’ Europe but Quashes Ukraine’s Hopes of Joining E.U. Soon

THE NEW YORK TIMES:

French President Emmanuel Macron used a much-anticipated address to the European Parliament on Monday to sketch out his vision for the future of the European Union, calling for a “stronger and more sovereign” Europe, even as he dashed Ukraine’s hopes of joining the 27-nation E.U. bloc any time soon.

Mr. Macron, whose stature as a leader of Europe has grown following the departure of former Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, reinforced his position on the European stage late last month after winning a second term as president of France. He framed his triumph over his far-right challenger Marine Le Pen, a longtime sympathizer with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, as a vote for a stronger Europe.

Mr. Macron took the floor at the European Parliament in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, just hours after Mr. Putin defended his invasion of Ukraine in a speech marking the Soviet victory against Nazi Germany. Referring to the war, Mr. Macron, who has been engaging in a flurry of diplomacy with Mr. Putin to try and end the conflict, said Europe would “do everything” it could to make sure that “Russia can never win.”

While Mr. Putin in Moscow used the Victory Day celebrations to falsely depict his invasion of Ukraine as an extension of the struggle against Nazism in Europe, Mr. Macron said “the European people, the Ukrainian people, are fighting for freedom” today. “We have given two very different images of May 9,” Mr. Macron later told reporters, referring to the Monday holiday.

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