Macron lays out plan for new EU 'renaissance'

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France's president has published newspaper columns in all of the European Union's 28 countries ahead of EU parliamentary elections in May. The articles lay out his vision of a reformed and more unified bloc.

PARIS (REUTERS) - France's President Emmanuel Macron is reaching out directly to voters not just in France, but in every single European Union country, with newspaper columns laying out his vision for a more unified and assertive EU ahead of the bloc's parliamentary elections in May.

And, one shielded from nationalist factions and pressures from other world powers.

It comes as Macron and the EU establishment butt heads against members like Italy and its far-right anti-establishment government.

Also, geopolitical tensions with Russia and China, and increasingly the EU's ally, the United States, who he specifically calls a quote, "competitor" on trade.

It's an unusual PR campaign. Major papers in all 28 member countries, from the Guardian in Britain to Spain's El Pais are carrying it.

Some examples from the lengthy text include a unified refugee policy and stricter border controls.

He wants a blanket ban on foreign donations to political parties and a centralized oversight agency to protect elections.

He's also calling to ban or restrict foreign companies deemed strategic threats. "Europe First" as opposed to "America First."

All this, he says, will bring in what he called a new "European renaissance," if voters across the EU agree with him.

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