Macron calls to protect abortion in EU Charter


European Union


President Macron speaking in the European Parliament, with Mrs Metsola in the chair behind him. Photo AFP, Bertrand Guay

The French President and EU chairman Emmanuel Macron has said that abortion should be part of the fundamental rights of the Union.

In his address to the European Parliament on Wednesday morning, he pleads for the termination of pregnancy as part of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, together with environmental protection. The member states enshrined the Charter in the year 2000. France is taking the bloc’s rotating presidency for the first half of 2022.

“We must update this charter to be more explicit on the protection of the environment, the recognition of the right to abortion,” Macron said according to a report by The Local. He spoke to the representatives at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, eastern France.

“Let us open up this debate freely with our fellow citizens… to breathe new life into the pillar of law that forges this Europe of strong values,” Macron said. There was vigorous applause for his request about abortion.

Macron was the first guest of honour for the newly elected Parliament’s President, Roberta Metsola. This Maltese lady is known to be “categorically against abortion”. She was chosen in the chair on Tuesday. Macron reportedly had his doubts about Metsola in the EP’s driving seat.

Macron nonetheless congratulated Metsola on her election in his opening remarks, acknowledging her belief in “our Europe, this Europe sustained by the values that bind and unite us.”

According to France24, after the speech, the French President would have lunch with Mrs Metsola before giving a press conference. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, was not present, as she is in quarantine for contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19.

Macron also spoke about security and stability in the light of relations between NATO and Russia.

Abortion as a black shadow

Abortion is recognised as a national matter in the EU. Member states have always been free to have their own policy on this. Therefore, within the EU, abortion rights differ from a free abortion until 24 weeks of the pregnancy in the Netherlands, and an almost ban on it in Malta and Poland.

Instantly, there came protest against the President’s remarks on Twitter. The Dutch MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen said: “Very miserable. Abortion is no human right; it is even contradicting the right of life.”

His colleague Peter van Dalen wrote: “Abortion is a black shadow over our societies that we should not be promoting.”



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