France's Macron Says Europe Has Become Too ‘Ultra’ Free Market

(Bloomberg) -- Populist parties have gained across Europe because the European Union has become too “ultra” free-market oriented and no longer protects the middle class, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

Speaking in an interview on Europe1 from the WWI battle memorial at Verdun, Macron said a “strong and sovereign Europe” was needed to defend European interests against China, Russia and “even the U.S.,” and against the “Internet giants.” He noted that only 10 percent of investment on artificial intelligence was in Europe.

“We can’t defend Europe if we don’t have a real European army,” he said. “We must have a Europe that can defend itself more, without just relying on the U.S.”

He said he wanted to group together pro-Europe movements in next year’s EU parliamentary elections. “Everywhere in Europe, the nationalists are rising,” he said. “They play on fears of others, they want to close borders. Just because they are elected, doesn’t mean I can’t fight their ideas.”

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