These elections could define Europe. It must urgently rediscover its founding spirit | Natalie Nougayrède

Facing challenges from Russia, China and the US, the continent can no longer neglect its core values of peace and human rights

Sometimes, when it comes to Europe, things are clearer from afar. Take Viktor Orbán’s encounter with Donald Trump last week: a love-fest perfectly timed to signal that this US president is out to disembowel the European Union, if not break it entirely. Ahead of the European elections, here was Hungary’s self-proclaimed “illiberal” prime minister – a man teaming up with Italy’s far-right strongman Matteo Salvini – receiving his long-awaited anointment from a white-nationalist US president who has called the EU a “foe”.

Meanwhile, in Syria, barrel bombs and Russian military ordnance continued to rain down on Idlib’s hospitals and schools, as the noose tightened on 3 million civilians trapped in the last rebel-held area that the president, Bashar al-Assad, wants to reconquer. Historians will perhaps one day tell us whether Vladimir Putin timed that particular offensive to coincide with other items on his EU-destroying agenda, already well on display with disinformation campaigns aimed at helping extremist political forces across the continent.

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Source : These elections could define Europe. It must urgently rediscover its founding spirit | Natalie Nougayrède