PARIS (AP) — Ahead of important European elections, French President Emmanuel Macron is pleading for a stronger Europe to stand up to U.S. and Chinese dominance.

Macron expressed concern Thursday about the rise of extremist views, saying "if you fragment Europe, there is no chance you have a stronger Europe." He warned that could lead to a world led by a "G-2" involving just the U.S. and China.

Macron's centrist party is in a tight battle with Marine Le Pen's far right National Rally in the race for next week's European Parliament elections. His support has lagged amid tensions with other European leaders and domestic anger at his pro-business policies.

Macron hailed the EU for bringing together 28 "strong national cultures" peacefully for the past 70 years.

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