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6/23/17

EU: It′s cool to be pro-EU with popular French President Emmanuel Macron

A year ago, the European Union was in a world of woe. The UK wanted out, populists were rising in the polls and Donald Trump predicted more countries would follow in the footsteps of Brexit - and that they'd be better off for it. EU public relations staffers were continuing their desperate search for that elusive "narrative" that would make Europeans feel like they were part of a winning team.

All eyes were on the Dutch elections in March,the first domino in the lineup. If far-right nationalist Geert Wilders made significant gains on Prime Minister Mark Rutte, it would be the harbinger of a bigger disaster to come: French voters choosing the National Front's Marine Le Pen as their next president.

Rutte's win, if not particularly inspiring, provided the EU with some space to breathe. And by then it was obvious that newcomer Emmanuel Macron and his just-created "En Marche" movement were encroaching on France's old guard from both the left and the right with an undeniable energy, derived in part from being pro-EU and proud of it. By the time Macron made the long dramatic walk to give his acceptance speech accompanied by the EU - not the French - anthem, the tide of public sentiment had already turned in the EU's favor, with Macron sitting atop the crest of the wave.

Last week that feeling was quantified and described as a dramatic rebound by the Pew Research Center in a survey on public approval. It found that people in nine of the 10 member states surveyed - all but Greece - now view the EU favorably, "including 74 percent in Poland, 68 percent in Germany, 67 percent in Hungary and 65 percent in Sweden." That's true even in the UK, according to Pew.

Read more: It′s cool to be pro-EU with popular French President Emmanuel Macron | Europe | DW | 22.06.2017

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