17 Apr, 2018
Members of the European Parliament display placards “Stop the War in Syria” France, April 17, 2018. © Vincent Kessler / Reuters
In his speech, Macron laid out his vision for a “profound transformation” within the EU, by which member states would abandon their “selfishness and negativity” for “what brings us together.” He characterized the current political climate in the EU as a “civil war,” and called for greater unity in the face of emerging “authoritarian powers,” which seek to undermine the bloc.
However, Macron’s impassioned appeal for unity was coldly received by more than a dozen MEPs, who displayed signs that read “Hands off Syria!” and “Stop the War in Syria” in protest at joint missile strikes carried out by the US, Britain and France against Damascus on Saturday.
“Where was the democracy you talk about when you undemocratically attacked Syria President Macron?” Liadh Ni Riada, an MEP from Ireland’s Sinn Fein party, tweeted during Macron’s speech. Fellow Sinn Fein members Lynn Boylan, Martina Anderson and Matt Carthy were also seen holding the anti-war placards in defiance of Macron’s melodramatic call for European solidarity.
— Matt Carthy MEP (@mattcarthy) April 17, 2018
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) April 17, 2018
Military violence does not solve problems, @EmmanuelMacron, it continues to turn the spiral of conflict. Dialogue & diplomatic negotiations are the only way out of conflict! #MacronPE#EPlenary#SyriaStrikepic.twitter.com/gMqA6PeR4W
— GUE/NGL in the EP (@GUENGL) April 17, 2018
In a debate held on Monday, France’s National Assembly roundly criticized Macron’s decision to launch the strikes without first obtaining a UN mandate. Assembly members denounced the strikes as illegal and carried out at the behest of Washington.