French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he delivers a speech at the Vivatech startups and innovation fair, Thursday, May 16, 2019 in Paris. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool)

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.

French President Emmanuel Macron listens to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as they hold a press conference after a meeting at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Germany's Manfred Weber of the European People's Party is shown on the large screen as he participates in a debate with other candidates to the presidency of the Commission at the European Parliament in Brussels, Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Leading candidates in the EU elections are facing off Wednesday in a final televised debate before millions of people take part in the world's biggest transnational polls on May 23-26. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)