In the Netherlands, Macron arrested by protesters during a speech

Pension reform and climate inaction were the surprise guests of Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the Netherlands on Tuesday. While addressing students in The Hague on the future of Europe, the President was briefly interrupted by angry activists.

“Where is French democracy? “, “The climatic conventions have been put aside” they notably yelled from a platform, unrolling a banner on which was written in English “President of violence and hypocrisy”. “You have millions of protesters in the streets,” they said, as the French government faces strong protest over pensions.

“Reform is not easy”

“This is a democracy and a democracy is exactly a place where you can demonstrate,” replied the head of state when he was able to speak again after a minute’s interruption. But “the day you say to yourself” when I disagree with the law that has been passed or the people who have been elected, I can do what I want because I decide for myself the legitimacy of what I do. “You put democracy in danger,” he said. He was also expected at the exit by around thirty young French people who chanted: “Macron, we are here for the honor of the workers and for a better world! »

“Reform is not easy,” King Willem-Alexander later noted at a state dinner in honor of his host. “For us, for Europe and for the whole world, it is essential that France be strong, prosperous and confident”, he insisted, welcoming the “vision and energy” of the French president for the future of the EU.

During his thirty-minute speech, Emmanuel Macron pleaded for greater economic autonomy for Europe but did not return to his controversial remarks on China and Taiwan. His appeal to Europeans, during interviews in China, not to be “followers” ​​on Taiwan with regard to Beijing or Washington as well as to “depend less on the Americans” in terms of defense has indeed triggered an outcry.

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A royal state dinner

Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte were welcomed with military honors in the morning at the Palais-Royal in Amsterdam by King Willem-Alexander and his wife Maxima. In the evening, royal pomp was deployed for the State dinner, with waiters in livery, porcelain with naturalistic motifs and imposing floral arrangements.

This state visit confirms the rapprochement between the two countries since Brexit in 2016. This Wednesday, the two governments will sign a “pact for innovation” in semiconductors and quantum physics. Brigitte Macron and the Queen will visit the Anne Frank House for their part. The presidential couple, accompanied by the king and queen, will also visit the Vermeer exhibition in Amsterdam in the evening before returning to Paris.

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