Macron, who has pushed for a joint European Union military force since his arrival in power a year ago, said Europe needed to reduce its dependence on American might, not least after U.S. President Donald Trump announced he was pulling out of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty.
The French president continued: "We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army".
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 United States president, Donald Trump.More news: Georgia High School Marching Band Spells Out Racial Slur During Halftime Show
Macron said Wednesday in Charleville-Mezieres that Petain deserved praise for being "a great soldier" in WWI, although he took "fatal choices during the Second World War".
Six people linked to French extreme right movements were detained on suspicions they were preparing a "violent" plot against President Emmanuel Macron.
In recent months Macron has framed elections to the European Parliament next May as a battle between anti-immigrant nationalists and pro-EU "progressives".
The 40-year-old is now engaged in a week-long tour of French WWI battlefields in the lead up to the commemorations this weekend.More news: DeSantis pins hopes on GOP turnout Tuesday
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The conservative Les Republicains party led by Laurent Wauquiez slipped two percentage points to 13 percent, while the far-left France Insoumise led by Jean-Luc Melenchon fell from 14 to 11 percent.
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After the war, Petain was sentenced to death for treason, though then-President General Charles de Gaulle, a longtime admirer of Petain, reduced the punishment to life in prison. Macron, this time, it's too much! He died in 1951, aged 95.More news: Chris Watts: Dad admits to killing family to avoid death penalty
The President's battlefield tour has been marked by protests over rising living costs, in particular fuel price increases which many blame on high taxes.
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