France's Hollande warns against nationalism in last New Year address

By REUTERS
December 31, 2016 23:38
1 minute read.

 
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PARIS  - French President Francois Hollande on Saturday warned against the risks of nationalism in his last New Year address ahead of the election of his successor next spring.

Hollande, who said this month he would not seek a second term in 2017, defended his legacy as president and addressed the policies of the anti-immigration and anti-euro National Front, whose leader Marine Le Pen is set to make it to the second round of the election, if recent polls are correct.

"There are periods in history when everything may change dramatically. We're in one of them," Hollande said an address that was broadcast on French television.

"How can we imagine our country being curled up behind walls, reduced to its internal market, going back to its national currency and, on top of that, discriminating between its own children according to their origins?" he said.

Hollande, who did not directly name the FN, mentioned British voters' decision in June to leave the European Union, and the U.S. presidential election won by Donald Trump in November, as events that demonstrated that democracy, freedom and peace were "vulnerable and reversible".

His comments on Brexit in particular echoed those made earlier on Saturday by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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