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THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The Latest on the European Parliament elections (all times local):
French President Emmanuel Macron is trying to prove that he's really a green-friendly guy.
His centrist movement is struggling to charm voters ahead of France's vote Sunday in European Parliament elections. So Macron hosted a meeting Thursday of a new body called the "environmental defense council," modeled on how he handles national security.
He said: "It's no longer time for words ... We must make decisions." He ordered his government to assess environment-related policies are and come up with new ideas by July — providing them with green-colored folders full of guidance.
Macron has stood up to U.S. President Donald Trump on the need to fight climate change, but is under fire from activists and voters who say he isn't actually doing enough to protect the environment. Critics dismissed Thursday's meeting as "greenwashing," or repackaging policies with environmentally friendly language.
Meanwhile others say Macron's climate policies are going too far, including many protesters behind France's yellow vest movement.
Dutch polls have opened in elections for the European Parliament, starting four days of voting across the 28-nation bloc that pits supporters of deeper integration against populist Euroskeptics who want more power for their national governments.
A half hour after voting started in the Netherlands, polls open across the United Kingdom, the only other country voting Thursday, and a nation still wrestling with its plans to leave the European Union altogether and the leadership of embattled Prime Minister Theresa May.
The elections, which end Sunday night, come as support is surging for populists and nationalists who want to rein in the EU's powers, while traditional powerhouses like France and Germany insist that unity is the best buffer against the shifting economic and security interests of an emerging new world order.