A mask and protection glasses along with an yellow vest are placed on a statue as French yellow vest protesters, backdropped by the Eiffel Tower are rallying to support an older woman activist injured in a confrontation with police, Saturday, March 30, 2019 in Paris. The demonstrators are undeterred by protest bans or repeated injuries in 20 weeks of demonstrations, marching again Saturday in Paris, Bordeaux and other cities to keep pressing President Emmanuel Macron to do more to help working classes, redesign French politics _ or step down altogether. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

PARIS (AP) — With Brexit looming and nationalism rising, French President Emmanuel Macron's pro-EU party has launched its campaign for the European Parliament elections.

The centrist Republic on the Move party and its allies held a rally Saturday in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers. The group calls itself Renaissance.

Polls suggest Renaissance will be among France's top two vote-getters in the May election, which takes place in each European Union nation between May 23-26 and in France on May 26. The group appears slightly ahead of Marine Le Pen's anti-immigration, far-right National Rally party.

Saturday's Renaissance rally was led by Nathalie Loiseau, who quit this week as France's European Affairs minister to lead the campaign. Loiseau notably handled France's Brexit preparations.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and several government officials attended the event.

"Some want to make us believe that the past was a better time, they want to come back to nationalism, to Europe's demons... don't let them win!", Loiseau said, expressing concerns about the rise of far-right parties in many EU countries.

She pointed to the situation in Britain, where she said "sorcerer's apprentices" pushed for the country's departure from the EU "with no vision, no project."

"Now the damage is done. Britain is leaving us without knowing where it goes. Confusion reigns, concerns are growing," she told the rally.

Loiseau said the EU should make fighting climate change and improving its responses to immigration issues the continent's top priorities.

"We must ensure a more efficient control of our (EU) external borders, by dedicating more personnel and more resources and further assisting countries that are on the front line," she said.

At the same time, she insisted EU must better welcome refugees who are fleeing wars.

"Europe has known crisis and needs a renaissance... don't wait for a better Europe. Change it!" she concluded to wide applause by supporters, who chanted "We will win! We will win!"

French voters will fill 79 of the European legislature's 705 seats. Macron hopes his pro-EU vision can inspire voters beyond France's borders, too. In some EU countries, however, support is growing for nationalist politicians who want to reinstate borders and roll back the European cooperation built up since World War II.

Earlier this month, Macron called for a "European Renaissance" in an open letter published across the EU. He called on voters to choose a stronger EU and to reject nationalist parties.

The French leader's proposals included creating an agency to protect EU nations' elections from cyberattacks and other manipulations and a ban on foreign powers financing EU political parties.

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Angela Charlton contributed to the story

A view of the European Parliament during a plenary session in Strasbourg, eastern France, Wednesday March 27, 2019. The Parliament discusses the conclusions of the 21-22 March EU summit, including Brexit, with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
FILE - In this Wednesday, March 6, 2018 file picture, French Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau looks on during a signature ceremony officializing the transfer of the European Banking Authority, in Paris, Wednesday, March 6, 2018. French European affairs minister Nathalie Loiseau will lead President Emmanuel Macron's campaign in European Parliament elections in May. Macron's party said Loiseau's candidacy will be formalized on Monday evening. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu, File)
French yellow vest protesters, backdropped by the Eiffel Tower are rallying to support an older woman activist injured in a confrontation with police, Saturday, March 30, 2019 in Trocadero Square, in Paris. The demonstrators are undeterred by protest bans or repeated injuries in 20 weeks of demonstrations, marching again Saturday in Paris, Bordeaux and other cities to keep pressing President Emmanuel Macron to do more to help working classes, redesign French politics _ or step down altogether. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
A demonstrator places a mask and a yellow vest on a statue titled Le Matin, or The Morning, as French yellow vest protesters, are rallying to support an older woman activist injured in a confrontation with police, Saturday, March 30, 2019 in Trocadero Square, in Paris. The demonstrators are undeterred by protest bans or repeated injuries in 20 weeks of demonstrations, marching again Saturday in Paris, Bordeaux and other cities to keep pressing President Emmanuel Macron to do more to help working classes, redesign French politics _ or step down altogether. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)