The French President published a letter in 28 European newspapers ahead of the European elections scheduled for the end of May, calling for new EU institutions, as well as a common defence strategy, to protect the bloc. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight programme in response to the letter, Mr Schöpflin said: “It’s a rather charming piece of fantasy, frankly. It’s very French, rather centralising. Basically, saying things which may or may not work in France and I’m not even sure that it would work in France.
“But will not really work very well outside of France because I don’t have the sense that President Macron understands the currents that are sweeping Europe.
“This isn’t just Hungary – it’s all over Europe, think about Poland, think about Matteo Salvini in Italy, think about the Alternative fuer Deutschland (AfD) in Germany, or the Dutch or the Belgians.
“I mean, pretty much every country has some kind of a movement, a political movement saying this is not the Europe we want anymore.
“The Europe that is constantly centralising.”
During his letter, the French President targeted Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, accusing Leave campaigners of spreading “lies”.
He wrote: “Never since the second world war has Europe been so essential. Yet never has Europe been in such danger.
“Brexit stands as the symbol of that. It symbolises the crisis of a Europe that has failed to respond to its peoples’ need for protection from the major shocks of the modern world. It also symbolises the European trap.”
Mr Macron added: “The trap lies not in being part of the European Union; the trap is in the lie and the irresponsibility that can destroy it.
“Who told the British people the truth about their post-Brexit future? Who spoke to them about losing access to the EU market?
“Who mentioned the risks to peace in Ireland of restoring the border?
“Retreating into nationalism offers nothing; it is rejection without an alternative.
“And this is the trap that threatens the whole of Europe: the anger mongers, backed by fake news, promise anything and everything.”