Frankrigs præsident Emmanuel Macron blev Årets Europæer 2017. Læs landsformand Stine Bosses tale her!

We are living in times of change, and big shifts are on the horizon in Europe. As if that’s not enough, there are new agendas in place in countries on our EU borders, which happen on top of new fractures inside EU.

Brexit. Russia. Eastern Europe – wanting new standards and values – excluding for example Muslims and rejecting Southern Europe’s constant push for more help regarding migration and refugees. Cyber crime at a new level – not to speak of cyber war.

Following populistic voices comes totalitarian values, in a manner which we have not seen since the 30’s. Yes, this is indeed a reality, not only in Europe, but also in the “country of freedom” – the US.

So who will defend our values? Who will stand against the wind and talk, not only about what the European Union is, but also what it might become? President Macron.

He actually stated – before he was elected, whilst still campaigning: France is great … but only as a consequence of our membership of the EU.

The very special loyalty exceeding from the French borders is rare these days. France stands in clear opposition to the increasingly skeptical view on the EU, that many classically responsible countries across the union – including Denmark – have witnessed. Thus, Macron soon became a clear voice. A strong profile, from whom we can get new inspiration from, with a statesman perspective that exceeds France.

The European Union, being shocked after the above-mentioned events, really needs Macron. Whether you agree with him politically on all aspects or not, becomes a less important matter: because the vision for Europe is so clear.

We can only pave the way forward in the name of a “European Union”, if the 500 million citizens of Europe are taken seriously. Not only every 5 years when there is an election for the Parliament. No, we need national politicians, all across Europe, who will take us seriously; who will listen and debate with us, and with each other, for a better Union and a clearer path forward.

This is where Macron’s voice has been clear and profound in a way we need within Europe and for Europe. We can only hope, that his commitment to work towards processes of development and his efforts to involve the voices of the citizens will be copied – by political opponents as well. Not in a “more or less” debate, but in an intense “what” debate.

The European Union is ours. It is a political battlefield and the most important road for any European citizen and business to influence our own lives and to impact on a global scale.

Thank you Mr. President for showing us this so clearly, and congratulations on your title as European of the Year.