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Macron’s EU Stance –  A Double-Edged Sword Risking Radical Reactions in France

Public Affairs
Macron’s EU Stance –  A Double-Edged Sword Risking Radical Reactions in France

By Guillaume Binoche from Tangerine, our partners in Paris.

Beyond urgent issues of climate Change, industrial rearmament, and migration, the transformation of the political landscape initiated in 2017 may culminate this year with the consolidation of a Eurosceptic camp in France.

In the run-up to the 2024 EU elections, France finds itself entangled in a national introspective debate, prioritising internal issues over broader European concerns. This situation is notably illustrated by a surprising consensus in the French political landscape in favour of a CAP reform, although French agriculture is its primary beneficiary. This inward focus raises questions about France’s future role and influence within the European Union.

The domestic agenda is overshadowed by the startling rise of extreme right-wing parties, now commanding around 30% in the polls (23% of the votes in 2019). This surge could significantly diminish France’s clout in the European Parliament by sending more than 30 deputies from Marine Le Pen’s party to Strasbourg. Traditionally, France has been a beacon of moderate, centrist policies in the EU, nourishing the ranks of the EPP and the S&D. The continuous pivot towards the extreme right threatens to alter this perception, isolating France from core EU decision-making processes and potentially derailing collaborative European initiatives.

Despite his strong pro-European stance, Macron’s diminishing domestic approval might inadvertently push voters towards anti-European sentiments. This shift could manifest in a paradoxical scenario where the electorate, though predominantly supportive of the EU, opts for candidates sceptical of further European integration as a rebuke to Macron’s policies.

In this sense, the Green party, with its robust pro-European agenda, is trailing in the polls. This is a perplexing situation given the current heightened awareness and priority of environmental issues among EU citizens. However, there is a glimmer of hope for EU supporters with the social democrats led by MEP Raphaël Glucksmann, who enjoy a high opinion rating and could sway the electorate back towards a more pro-European stance.

France’s predicament is a microcosm of a larger European dilemma—balancing national priorities with collective European goals. The 2024 elections are not merely a political contest but a decisive moment that could define France’s European journey. Will French voters look beyond immediate domestic grievances and reaffirm their commitment to the EU, or will they retreat into nationalism, potentially fracturing the Union? The choices made at the polls will resonate far beyond France, influencing the very fabric of European cooperation and solidarity.

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