But at home, critics (link in French) lambasted Macron’s letter, taking the opportunity to advance their own platforms ahead of the European elections. François-Xavier Bellamy, the French right’s lead candidate for the European parliament, criticized Macron for not saying “that we must put an end to mass immigration.” Bruno Retailleau, the right-wing senate leader, said that “to bring Europeans together, we should start by not dividing them unnecessarily by setting up this false division between progressives and nationalists.” And Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a far-right, anti-EU, and pro-nationalist politician, said Macron’s proposal of “migratory submersion” undermined his claim of wanting to protect the continent.

To implement any of his proposals, Macron will need a strong showing in the upcoming elections, and the support of domestic and European allies. This is no easy task. Polls show that Macron’s party is neck-and-neck with Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party—a warning sign that the “grand coalition” of European centre-right and centre-left parties that has dominated the EU parliament for 40 years might not hold.

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