Arrests in Suspected Far-Right Plot to Attack French President

A woman holds the hand of French President Emmanuel Macron as he is greeted by people after leaving a restaurant

A woman holds the hand of French President Emmanuel Macron as he is greeted by people after leaving a restaurant

Officials made the announcement while President Macron was in the northeastern French city of Verdun on Tuesday as part of centenary commemorations for the end of the First World War.

"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America", Macron told Europe 1 radio.

"In an environment where threats and upheavals of a geopolitical or climatic nature are multiplying, the initiative must send the message that Europe is ready, that Europe is capable", a French defence ministry official said.

"The only thing we will remember about Petain is that he was convicted, in the name of the French people, of national indignity during his trial in 1945", Kalifat said in a statement.

Defence ministers from nine European countries will meet in Paris on Wednesday to set out plans for a joint force that could rapidly be deployed in response to a conflict or natural disaster.

"The idea of creating a common strategic culture is not a bad one", he told AFP.

"We have been hit by intrusion attempts in cyber-space and multiple interventions in our democracies", he said in an apparent reference to Russian Federation.

French President Emmanuel Macron said today the European Union has failed to protect the less well off as it pushes a neo-liberal agenda, signalling a more critical stance as eurosceptics make gains before elections next spring.

But he said the situation was "precarious" due to the "rise of nationalism" inside Europe, as well as due to its external threats.

Europe "has probably become too ultra-liberal", he said, "which doesn't allow the middle classes to live well". "The threat we have also from a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, like Turkey, I think it's something that if we want to deal with we have to be together with the rest of Europe", she told Euronews' Raw Politics program on Wednesday.

The French president has pushed for closer EU defence union since coming to power a year ago but has been so far met with limited success amid foot-dragging by other member states.

It was not the first known attempt against Macron.

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