Macron’s French EU presidency speech analysed by expert

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Members of the media frustratedly walked out of the room, with some dubbing the French leader’s approach “disrespectful” while others said the event had been “a waste of time” or no more than “a photo opportunity” for the two presidents.

EU-based journalists, taking to Twitter, criticised how things unfolded at what should have been a chance for the press to better understand the priorities of Mr Macron and the newly-appointed President of the EU Parliament.

Financial Times European Union Correspondent Mehreen Khan said: “After more than five hours of Macron in the plenary, having Metsola and the repeat press statements with no questions is a waste of time.

“Designed only to ensure the new EP president gets her photo op with Macron with the nice flags.”

EU-based journalists, taking to Twitter, criticised how things unfolded at what should have been a chance for the press to better understand the priorities of Mr Macron and the newly-appointed President of the EU Parliament.

Financial Times European Union Correspondent Mehreen Khan said: “After more than five hours of Macron in the plenary, having Metsola and the repeat press statements with no questions is a waste of time.

“Designed only to ensure the new EP president gets her photo op with Macron with the nice flags.”

Laura Zornoza, Brussels correspondent for Spanish news agency EFE, said: “Macron spent an hour and a half in the chamber of the EU Parliament this morning for his pre-campaign and, an hour late, he showed up in the press room to make a final statement without questions.

“What a lack of respect for journalists, our time and our work.

“Macron, like many others, rant easily about freedom of press very easily… but answering journalists’ questions, they find it a bit harder.”

Bloomberg reporter Jillian Deutsch tweeted: “Journalists furious that after waiting an hour for presser, told that Macron and Metsola will not take questions.”

She added that “when someone shouted about it as they took to the podium”, Mr Macron pointed at his watch.

In a video shared by CNEWS journalist Loïc Signor, Mr Macron can be heard saying he already “answered the press for several hours in December in Paris”.

The clash between the leaders and the press happened after a debate in Strasbourg on France’s Presidency of the Council and only a day after Ms Metsola was announced as the next President of the European Parliament.

Ms Metsola, the first president to come from Malta, the bloc’s smallest member nation, claimed as she was elected: “In the next years, people across Europe will look to our institution for leadership and direction, while others will continue to test the limits of our democratic values and European principles.

“We must fight back against the anti-EU narrative that takes hold so easily and so quickly.”

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EU reporter Beatriz Ríos, referencing Ms Metsola’s words, said: “Talking about the need to strengthen democracy in the Union for about two hours to then refuse to answer questions from journalists. Brilliant.”

Ahead of the French presidential election in April, Mr Macron’s attitude is expected to be watched closely by his opponents and by voters.

On Twitter, a user under the name Berz, wrote: “European journalists are discovering Macron’s conception of democracy.

“For two years he has been reciting speeches alone at the Elysée Palace without any contradiction. He announces measures without a press conference, but by recording them and providing them to TVs.”

Following Wednesday’s controversy, France Info clarified: “While Emmanuel Macron was to respond to journalists in Strasbourg after his speech before Parliament, the press conference was transformed into a statement, without questions.

“In protest, some European journalists left the room before the start of the intervention.”

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