Farage rails against Macron's call for a European army

Friday, 09 Nov, 2018

Kalifat said it was "an insult" that a French president could honor Petain on "the same level as the other generals". Petain emerged from the Great War as a national hero with streets in towns and cities across France named after him.

After the war's end he was arrested for treason and given the death sentence, which was commuted into life imprisonment given his age.

While France has been on high alert for Islamist terrorism after a spate of attacks in recent years, police and the intelligence agencies have also grown concerned about the rise in the violent threat from extremist groups on the far right. His administration, based in the unoccupied part of the country known as Vichy France, collaborated with Nazi Germany and its deportation and extermination of the Jews. He died in 1951, aged 95. "This anti-Semitic traitor can not be amnestied by the caprice of Macron".

"You're creating controversies by yourselves, my children", he admonished journalists - echoing, intentionally or not, the paternalistic "my children" used by Petain to close a Christmas address from 1940.

The President will not be present at the Les Invalides ceremony on Saturday, but said that he would be represented by his Chief of Staff.

"I will not get into this bad polemic", government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said in response to the criticism, warning against making "dubious shortcuts" before then quoting a sentence of General de Gaulle in 1966 on Petain that "his glory in Verdun can not be contested or unknown by the Fatherland".

Macron's remarks have prompted a lively debate among European politicians.

"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America", Macron stated plainly.

Despite the controversy, some supporters of Mr Macron have come to his defence.

The 2016 election of President Trump has raised urgency in Europe to boost defense capabilities of European Union (EU), especially with concerns over active measures campaigns from the Russian government led by President Vladimir Putin.

President Macron's battlefield tour will take in the River Somme as well as Verdun.

"My role isn't to understand that it's shocking or to comment about people".