US President Donald Trump has popped up in the French city of Strasbourg, on posters reminding voters of what is at stake in elections for the European Parliament next year.
Trump’s face, partly concealed by a star in the blue-and-yellow colours of the European Union flag, appears on hundreds of billboards urging voters to register for the May 26 vote.
“This time I will register and I will vote,” read the posters, put up on Wednesday.
The head of communications for Strasbourg, Jean-Francois Lanneluc, defended using the spectre of the “America First” president in a bid to spur voter registration.
“When you launch a campaign you want it to be noticed, there has to be an element of surprise. Here, you have that and it has not gone unnoticed. It has prompted debate and that’s good,” Lanneluc said.
“Europe remains a sort of model against the temptation of isolationism, which Trump embodies,” he added. “We stand behind the message; we evaluated the risks.”
The EU parliament splits its plenary sessions between Strasbourg and Brussels.
Several other French towns have contacted Strasbourg about using the image, according to Lanneluc, ahead of an election shaping up as a battle between European moderates and populists.
Last month, the French government used images of Italy’s nationalist Interior Minister Matteo Salvini and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in a video urging voters to vote for “European Union, or division”.