Agents uncover plot to attack French President

French Far-Right Overtakes Macron in EU Parliament Election Poll

Mr Macron stirred a debate that recent French presidents have carefully avoided by paying tribute to Pétain, who won the battle of Verdun in 1916 and is regarded as saving the French army from collapse amid a series of mutinies a few months later.

A number of proposals have been put on the table for how European Union nations could cooperate more closely on defence.

In a YouGov poll published last week, Macron's popularity fell to its lowest level since his 2017 election, with only 21 percent of those polled saying they were satisfied with him.

"European defence cooperation is not about creating an EU army", EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini said in February - in one of many similar such remarks.

"But there's a massive gap between the European defence that Emmanuel Macron dreams about and the reality of very powerful disagreements between European partners".

In July 2017, a 23-year-old far-right extremist was charged with plotting to assassinate Macron at France's Bastille Day military parade, which the French leader attended with the U.S. president, Donald Trump.

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European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said past year that "deference to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation can no longer be used as a convenient alibi to argue against greater European efforts".

On a visit to the former Western Front in Verdun, he said Russian Federation had shown it could be a threat and Europe had to be able "to defend itself better alone".

In an apparent reference to Russia, Macron warned that "intrusion attempts in cyber-space and multiple interventions in our democracies" required a united response.

Two decades later, with France poised to fall to Nazi German forces in World War Two, Petain was appointed prime minister of France. "The threat we have also from a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, like Turkey, I think it's something that if we want to deal with we have to be together with the rest of Europe", she told Euronews' Raw Politics program on Wednesday.

Mrs Le Pen was referring Mr Macron's promise to lead a global fightback against nationalism and his unabashed disdain for Europe's far-right populists.

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