Macron says democracy is the EU's 'best chance'

France's Macron urges defence of democracy in EU

"We are discussing budget; France is ready to increase its share, but we need to work on re-establishing that budget".

The British Euroskeptic MEP had lunch with Macron in Strasbourg, where the French president was visiting to hold a debate in the European Parliament about the future of Europe. "We are 28 [members]", he recalled. "We can not divide each other, Europe is one thing in itself", Juncker said.

Macron said he was concerned by the growing sense of "doubt" in several European countries in the wake of the shock 2016 Brexit vote, which he said was creating divisions in the EU.

Macron separately proposed on Tuesday to create a European fund for communities that take in refugees in a bid to tackle one of the most politically toxic issues facing the EU.

He said: "Faced with authoritarianism, the answer is not democratic authoritarianism but the authority of democracy".

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"At a time of great change and transformation, the digital revolution, climate change". He spoke as Britain is leaving the European Union next year, euro-skeptic populists have won elections in Hungary and Italy and the European Union confronts the Polish government over judicial independence. What use is French leadership if Germany will not follow?

French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to outline his vision for the future of Europe as he addresses the European Parliament.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani also attended the lunch meeting and, according to Farage, introduced him to Macron as Parliament's "enfant awful".

Macron said in a television interview Sunday: "It's now that Europe's fate is being decided".

He is also expected to push for deep reforms of the 19-nation eurozone. Two seismic changes have been the rise of German resistance to the reforms that Mr Macron has in mind, and the decline of Angela Merkel's authority as Germany's chancellor.

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