Macron calls for democratic renewal: ‘not authoritarian democracy but the authority of democracy’


21st Forum 2000 Conference

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that “there seems to be a European civil war” between liberal democracy and rising authoritarianism, the BBC reports.

The rapid changes in the today’s world require politicians to change their ways, but this must not mean a rejection of democracy, he added.

“Indeed, in these difficult times, the European democracy is our best chance,” Macron said. “The worst possible mistake would be to give up on our model and our identity.”

Speaking after the re-election in Hungary of Viktor Orban, the personification of “illiberal democracy,” and moves against the judiciary in Poland, Macron lamented “an increasing fascination with illiberalism” and said that Europe was in a conflict between a new populist authoritarianism and the liberal democracy that shaped its postwar vision and success.

“In the face of authoritarianism, the response is not authoritarian democracy but the authority of democracy,” Macron said, in a clear reference to Hungary and to Poland.

How does populism challenge liberal democracy? In the latest issue of the National Endowment for Democracy’s Journal of Democracy, William A. Galston explores populism’s logic and considers how liberal democracies can respond.

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