French president urges US to remain open to the world

Emmanuel Macron says "isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism" are only temporary options

French president urges US to remain open to the world

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses a joint meeting of the US Congress, 25-04-2018. Image: Sipa USA/SIPA USA/PA Images

The President of France has called on the US to remain open to world and reject policies of isolation in order to protect the values of freedom and democracy.

Emmanuel Macron delivered a landmark speech to US Congress today, urging lawmakers not to "close the door to the world."

While his message was couched in flattering words, he made clear his opposition to US President Donald Trump’s “America First” agenda.

Warning that Americans and Europeans are "living in a time of anger and fear" under global threats, he noted that choosing "isolationism, withdrawal and nationalism" is only a temporary option.

Instead, the French president urged the US to re-embrace multilateralism and said that Europe and the US must face global challenges together.

He reflected that US and French values are what "terrorists hate."

“We have to keep our eyes wide open to the new risks right in front of us,” he said.

“I am convinced that if we decide to open our eyes wider we will be stronger.

“We will overcome the dangers.”

Syria

In his speech, he defended the recent strikes on Syria, claiming there is evidence that President Bashar al Assad used chemical weapons on his own citizens in the suburb of eastern Ghouta outside Damascus.

He said the joint action was an example of what he believes was effective multilateralism in action.

President Macron began and ended his speech by referencing the lasting friendship enjoyed by the US and France.

He recalled how the US and France have fought "shoulder to shoulder in many battles" over the years and insisted the two countries have a shared common vision of the "universal ideals of liberty, tolerance and equal rights."

Iran

He also warned that the Iran nuclear deal should not be abandoned without something more substantial to replace it with.

Yesterday Presidents Macron and Trump called for a new deal with Iran - after President Trump again called the current arrangement "insane."

The deal agreed with Tehran and six global powers restricts Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief on economic sanctions against the country.

President Trump has previously called the landmark deal "one of the worst and most one-sided" agreements the US has ever signed, and threatened to walk away from it next month.

"Planet B"

President Trump has pushed an "America first" agenda on key global agreements, jobs, the military and immigration policy.

Last year he dramatically pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Accord.

Mr Macron told Congress he was confident the US will rejoin the climate agreement in the future.

His said: "Let us work together in order to make our planet great again and create new jobs and new opportunities while safeguarding our Earth."

The President warned that if climate change and global warming continues, "there is no Planet B."

Mr Macron's speech, which was punctuated by repeated standing ovations and loud applause, was the first time a president from France has addressed Congress in more than a decade.