Election France: The French paradox: a campaign focused on foreign policy

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Foreign policy and security and defense issues are often poorly correlated in French presidential election campaigns. The debate usually revolves around differences in programs on the economy, social justice, education and transportation, in a word, questions of more national politics. The campaign is changing the plan described above: the war in Ukraine, instigated by Russia, has erupted in political debate not only internally but also externally in France at a crucial moment, since the first round of the French presidential election in April. will be in Tenth. In addition, France has presided over the Council of the European Union since January 1, 2022. As such, its position on the Russo-Ukrainian crisis is doubled, even tripled, investigated by the special role assigned by Emmanuel Macron to himself. Reaching out to Vladimir Putin over the past two years when he invited him to Bregoncon in August 2019. In his inaugural address at the annual conference of ambassadors on August 27, 2019, he urged French diplomacy and administration not to delve too deeply. The state “undermines its ambitions to build a new architecture of trust and security in Europe, because the European continent will never be stable, it will never be secure, if we do not keep our relations with Russia calm and clear.” We do.”

East turn France’s side was the subject of more or less veiled criticism from European partners, especially in the east, who accused it of selling their security. Macron’s method It was also criticized and sometimes misunderstood for shocking Europeans. Three years later, what was a vulnerability for Emmanuel Macron, the lack of trust that some Europeans had has become a force to be reckoned with: he has been the only European leader with whom Vladimir Putin has agreed to speak. While it hasn’t morphed into action yet, the dialogue isn’t completely broken. Emmanuel Macron does not need to play with this advantage in the French presidential campaign: war dominates all debate and he is the only one of 11 candidates who have participated in foreign policy and known leaders of European institutions, The other 26 EU member states are the United States, China and, of course, Russia.

However foreign policy is not usually at the center of the French national debate – especially because of the powers that the Constitution of the Fifth Republic grants to a head of state and a reserve area of ​​foreign policy, although it does not depend entirely on it. over the head of state, recognizes its superiority in the decision-making process—Russia is an exception, as it is an issue that encourages the extreme left and right, which advocated rapprochement with Putin before the war. They are now deeply embarrassed and their (former) support for the Kremlin master has given them points in the polls: change is underway and support for the Ukrainian people is loud and clear. Looks like it’s working for Marine Le Pen, who 23% increase in turnoutAs well as for Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who hopes to unite the left and perhaps qualify for a second round of presidential elections on April 24.

For five years, the political landscape has been turned upside down with the creation of Republic on Move by Emmanuel Macron, the decline – which is being confirmed – of the traditional government parties of the right and left, and in a record absence 2020 municipal elections And 2021 Regional, This last element will be particularly important for the presidential election.

In vote Conducted in January and February 2022 by the European Council of Foreign Relations in 12 member states and 15,000 European nationals, indicate that they have a fairly favorable opinion of France’s diplomatic leadership in recent years. However, the study sheds light on a French paradox: although the French government has defended European sovereignty in recent years, the French are part of the minority of Europeans in the survey (along with Greeks, Italians and Danes) who have a positive outlook. More negative is that of European sovereignty. This may be because Emmanuel Macron and his team are so focused on convincing other Europeans that they have not devoted enough energy to defending and embodying the narrative of European sovereignty in France. The opinion of the French on the European Union is the most negative of all those polled. Experts have warned of the danger of labeling them “Euroseptics” for a variety of reasons. The French are more suited to the idea of ​​Europe than to support European institutions and structures. They are relatively skeptical about European integration, but show a strong attachment to the European Union, its openness to others, adherence to European principles, common policies and its role in the world. To address the French’s mistrust of the European Union, among other recommendations, it would be necessary that French media and school programs give more importance to European affairs, which would require a profound change in the way political debate is conducted. Matters: It has to be made more democratic and open. This is a complete program for the future president.

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