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EU's Juncker warns of possible return to war in Balkans

EU's Juncker warns of possible return to war in Balkans

"I don't want to belong to a generation of sleepwalkers that has forgotten its own past", he told the European Parliament, in a passionate speech.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, a leading figure of the continent's nationalist right, swept to re-election this month on an anti-immigration, euroskeptic platform.

However, he won loud applause in declaring his enthusiasm for the way Macron, after his surprise election a year ago, has put strengthening the European Union at the heart of French policy after years in which Paris appeared to struggle for influence.

"We are seeing the emergence of authoritarian powers with a clear strategy that seeks to call into question the multinational system where Europe takes its place", Macron said.

President Macron gave a almost three-hour-long interview on the results of his first year in office to RMC radio host Jean-Jacques Bourdin, and Edwy Plenel of Mediapart website on Sunday.

Macron separately proposed on Tuesday to create a European fund for communities that take in refugees in a bid to tackle one of the most politically toxic issues facing the EU.

He has since set out demands for a more integrated eurozone that would require countries to share more resources, and a strengthening of European Union policies on defense, corporate tax, border protection and asylum.

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"If we remove from these countries, in this extremely complicated region, I should say tragically, a European perspective, we are going to live what we already went through in the 1990s". That said, he stressed again that the strike conducted by the USA and its allies last Saturday was completely legitimate.

Macron was speaking at the invitation of the European Parliament, which has asked leaders of all the member states to give their views on the EU's future following Brexit.

He is launching debates with voters, aimed at re-engaging them with the EU.

Macron said a new "European sovereignty" should be built as an answer to the fears and anger of EU citizens. According to Bourdin, the French leader also called Saturday's missile attack on Syrian civilian and military facilities, carried out by the US, UK and France, "a decision that will lead to peace in Syria".

"What we can expect from a French president is to tell the pessimists, stop saying that Europe doesn't work, Europe is not flawless but can be improved, and that the French youth, who inherits European integration, should mobilize".

- Laurence Norman in Brussels contributed to this article.


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