Macron’s call for European renewal

Sir, – French president Emmanuel Macron's words are all true ("Europe's renewal must be based on freedom, protection and progress", Opinion & Analysis, March 5th).

What he has left out, however, is significant. This is the insular bureaucracy of those charged with running the European Union over the years that has created a climate where the EU has seemed to be irrelevant in the lives of its citizens, which in turn has allowed the kind of potentially existential crisis that is Brexit to come about.

I hope the French president’s unprecedented intervention is not too little, and not too late.

I hope that the situation that motivated it will galvanise him and others in positions of power in Europe to work towards more real involvement in its operations both for those who are enthusiastic Europeans, as well as for those who would otherwise hanker after narrow nationalistic outcomes. – Yours, etc,



Windy Arbour,

Dublin 14.

Sir, – While much of what Mr Macron writes is more than laudable, it is a great pity that he does not put it into practice in the country of which he is president. – Yours, etc,




A chara, – If, as President Macron believes, the European Union has been such a wonderful success, why is Europe at its greatest danger since the second World War? – Is mise,


Dublin 6.

Sir, – Tellingly, French president Emmanuel Macron uses Europe and European Union interchangeably in his letter to the citizens of Europe.

He asks who told the British people “about losing access to the European market”.

The answer is the British government did in a 16-page booklet distributed to all 28 million households in the UK, which warned of increasing prices, falling living standards, job cuts, loss of single market access, a falling pound, and so on.

In the referendum, a majority of voters (17.4 million, more than have ever voted for anyone or anything in British electoral history) decided that the advantages, as they saw them – sovereignty, control of laws and borders – outweighed the well-rehearsed financial and political disadvantages of Brexit and gave a two-fingered salute to those who conflate Europe and the EU. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Your newspaper carries a prominent article from one of the least popular national leaders on our poor, bedraggled continent, Emmanuel Macron. In this treatise the man who goes to battle using water cannon and tear gas against tens of thousand of his own citizens every weekend (the infamous gilets jaunes) lectures the UK about Brexit, how awful it will be for everyone involved, and how the European Union is apparently the irreplaceable peak of our collective achievements.

The headline reads “Europe is a historic success – we should never forget that”. Mr Macron goes on to say, “Never, since the second World War, has Europe been as essential. Yet never has Europe been in so much danger”.

The repetition is not unintentional. He continues to refer to “Europe” when he is obviously referring not to Europe per se but the political institutions of his beloved European Union.

Numerous Irish Times journalists use the same shorthand.

This is not, of course, an accident. Pro-EU correspondents regularly use “Europe” (one of the world’s seven continents) when they are, in fact, describing the European Union, a trading bloc of 28 (soon to be 27) separate countries.

This is an unsubtle way of conflating the two terms in the minds of the populace. If you are opposed to the unaccountable, unelected and unreformable institutions of the European Union – an entity that has existed for a few short decades – you are thus somehow opposed to the very idea of “Europe”, a continent that has existed for many millennia.

“Europe is not just a market. It is a project”, continues the French president. This is true – the European Union is indeed a “project”, and one that has been rejected by the citizens of the UK and, increasingly, by voters in other European countries.

Yes, “Europe is a historic success”, and Europe in all its wonderfully disparate glory will continue to thrive with or without the outdated and increasingly irrelevant European Union. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 3.