Macron’s call for European renewal

Sir, – "Yes, 'Europe is a historic success'", writes Simon O'Neill (Letters, March 6th, 2019), "and Europe in all its wonderfully disparate glory will continue to thrive with or without the outdated and increasingly irrelevant European Union".

Europe was far from being a success during the Thirty Years’ War, when religious and dynastic turmoil engendered shocking cruelties in its territories from one side of it to the other. Europe was not a success during the Napoleonic Wars, when invading armies of all stripes “lived off the land” as a matter of course. It was not a success during the first World War, when the breastplates of millions of young men were the only armour they had against machine gun bullets. And it certainly was not a success when it was the location of extermination camps, firestorms brought about by the aerial bombing of cities, and civilian displacement on an historic scale in the years up to 1945. – Yours, etc,


Windy Arbour,


Dublin 14.

Sir, – Further to "Europe's renewal must be based on freedom, protection and progress" (Opinion & Analysis, March 5th), President Macron seems to be heading away from the traditional Chiracian view of a Europe of United Nations, and towards a federalist United States of Europe. Fair enough.

Unfortunately, his anathema towards nationalism distracts from his main argument. His pejorative interpretation of nationalism is an insult to many nationalists who are pro-Europe and who support the EU.

Largely pro-European Irish, Scottish and Catalan nationalists should not be lumped in with the far-right French National Rally or Germany’s AFD.

Mr Macron should read President Higgins’s recent Dáil centenary speech, where Mr Higgins makes a clear distinction between good and bad nationalism. Without the support of good nationalists, there is no future for the European project. – Yours, etc,



Co Meath.

Sir, – The French president famously loves his football. On a glorious Madrid night, Ajax’s young stars destroyed the entitled old boys of Real 4-1. Maybe the beautiful game can help inspire us all towards a new European beginning? – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill, Dublin 7.

Sir, – I am entirely comfortable with President Macron addressing me as a citizen of Europe. It is not a matter of whether I agree or disagree with what he says. He is showing much-needed leadership. A leadership to challenge the nasty excesses of nationalism and the irresponsibility of political opportunism, such as underpinned the Brexit campaign, and the arrogance of Trump-like narcissism and self-aggrandisement.

He deserves appreciation for showing a commendable degree of gumption. – Yours, etc,