PQRIS — French President Emmanuel Macron says he wants to achieve peace in 2018 in the battle against Islamic extremism — in Syria, Africa’s Sahel as well as in his own country.

In his first New Year’s speech as president, 40-year-old Macron said the new year will be “crucial” to France, to Europe and to the world.

He made a direct address to European citizens, urging them to voice their wishes about what they would like Europe to become.

“I deeply believe Europe can become that economic, social, environment-friendly, scientific power that will be able to face China, the United States”, he said Sunday.

He also pledged to focus on labor measures to “allow every worker to earn more”, in a country affected for years by high unemployment and economic stagnation.

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