Macron sets out his vision of a more ambitious, confident Europe from iconic Pnyx Hill in central Athens

8 September 2017
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French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday evening set out his challenges and vision for a more “ambitious” European future on the very spot where the very notion of democracy first emerged during Classical antiquity, at the Pnyx Hill beneath the Acropolis in central Athens.
His high-profile address, with the west end of the Parthenon atop the Acropolis as a backdrop, came hours after he said the recession-battered country is slowly returning to the road to recovery, growth and investments, while again emphasizing that reforms must be accelerated and that the “IMF supervising European programs is not the correct method.”

Macron began his address by speaking in Greek: “2,500 years ago Greeks invented democracy. It is a very great privilege to speak here. I want to especially thank Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras,” he said, continuing in French: “Let us commence, from Athens, a European conference on cultural legacy… we Europeans are a Babel, let us again find the ambition of civilization … democracy, sovereignty, culture, the three hopes that I want to offer Europe’s young people.”

Other highlights of his address included:
– “The British people expressed themselves, they said they do not want a Europe that requests sacrifices and offers noting.”
– “Many times in Europe we’ve lied. We said that Greece can continue without reforms and change. Who paid for the lies? The Greek people and those the ones who lied.
– “How can Europe become a force that defends our values against authoritarian regimes? To combine solidarity and responsibility”.
– “With a Europe of new alliances we’ll eradicate terrorism. Terrorists are waiting for one thing, for us to shrink and become afraid. Before these threats we must defend European sovereignty.”
– “The Greek crisis is Europe’s failure.”
– “It is very auspicious for one to look to the past; look forward, support the ambition of a powerful Europe. I promise you that we will succeed.
Macron concluded his address with a phrase by Greek Nobel laureate poet George Seferis: “… when you look for the miracle you’ve got to scatter your blood to the eight points of the wind because the miracle is nowhere but circulating in the veins of man.”

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