Macron criticises ‘woke’ EU language rules

‘A Europe that comes to explain to people what words they should or shouldn’t say is not a Europe to which I totally adhere’

Shweta Sharma
Wednesday 08 December 2021 10:48 GMT
French president Emmanuel Macron
French president Emmanuel Macron (AFP via Getty Images)

French president Emmanuel Macron criticised the European Commission for its “woke nonsense” a week after it withdrew controversial internal language rules following an outcry from politicians.

Mr Macron lashed out at the executive branch of the European Union in a speech at the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris and urged it to rather focus on  “recovery, power and belonging”.

“A Europe that comes to explain to people what words they should or shouldn’t say is not a Europe to which I totally adhere,” Mr Macron said, reported the Telegraph. “It’s nonsense, basically.”

Mr Macron said that the sense of European identity had “withered away” in France as well as European nations. He said it necessary for people to “claim this Europe as still our own”.

His scathing attack came a week after the European Commission was forced to pull back from an internal language guide which advised officials to use inclusive language such as “holiday season” rather than Christmas and use gender-neutral terms instead of “man-made” and “ladies and gentlemen.”

But it prompted massive backlash after references to Christmas and "Christian names” were deemed as trying to “cancel Christmas.”

Criticising the guide, former president of the European parliament Antonio Tajani had said: “Inclusion does not mean denying the Christian roots of [the EU]”, Mr Tajani. He added that the EU was waging war on “common sense”.

Helena Dalli, European Commissioner responsible for equality, had to issue an apology. She had earlier tweeted a picture of herself with the guidelines on 26 October and expressed pride on launching the guidelines.

She said the initiative was aimed to “illustrate the diversity of European culture and showcase the inclusive nature” and it is still not a “mature document” that clearly needs more work.

Mr Macron’s comments came ahead of the presidential election in April even as the current president is yet to declare his candidacy. But he is expected to run again.

Centre-right Les Républicains party’s candidate Valérie Pécresse has already thrown her hat in the ring with Saturday’s nomination and far-right populist Marine Le Pen launched her campaign.

Mr Macron has so far refrained from making a political statement on the debate over wokeism which the right and the far-right are using to gain political mileage ahead of elections. But Mr Macron’s education minister launched a think tank “The Laboratory of the Republic” to fight “wokeism” and cancel culture.

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