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Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel says European elections 'a wake up call'

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Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel says European elections 'a wake up call'
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Recent European parliamentary elections served as "a wake-up call from the extremist side," said Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in an interview with Euronews on Monday.

As European leaders gather to determine the bloc's future, Bettel reacted to the election results and said European leaders needed to reclaim the dialogue and make people believe in Europe again.

"It’s too easy to say that Europe is responsible for everything. We had a lot of success in the last years and very often we just comment on the failure that we have," Bettel said.

But most Europeans "still believe in Europe," he said, pointing out that a majority voted in favour of pro-European parties. It won't be possible for nationalists "to block Europe," he added.

He doubted that far-right leaders would work together, calling Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini, French National Rally leader Marine Le Pen, and Brexit party leader Nigel Farage three different kinds of people who had distinct priorities.

In terms of who might get the EU's top job of commission president, Bettel said he wished people could elect the candidate instead of parties. But, he said, the candidate is not the most important part of the process.

"The European project has to be a project and not only who is going to do the project. I need to know what will be the project first," Bettel told Euronews.

Bettel went on to compare Brexit to Samuel Beckett's play "Waiting for Godot," commending May's work negotiating a deal with the EU but stating that he did not know what the future negotiations would look like.

"We are waiting for Godot. I still don’t know who my partner is and especially what my partner wants," Bettel said.

But the Luxembourg prime minister sees a reason for hope.

"As a liberal, I can tell you that I’m a happy prime minister – a happy liberal prime minister – to see that the liberals is the family who grew in the biggest way through these elections," Bettel said.

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) increased its number of seats from 67 in 2014 to 105 in 2019. Bettel's Democratic Party which is aligned with ALDE received the most votes in Luxembourg's European elections.

Luxembourg has compulsory elections and had roughly 84% voter turnout.

"I’m convinced that the next hours and days will be the ones where we sit around the table and we find a common project," Bettel said.