Even though France would continue firmly on the course of European integration after liberal Emmanuel Macron’s victory in yesterday’s second round of the presidential elections, Macron’s promised reforms might cause friction with Berlin, editor-in-chief of foreign policy magazine Diplomaatia, Erkki Bahovski, told BNS on Monday.
Some of the French voters would have voted against Le Pen rather than for Macron, Bahovski told BNS, choosing the lesser of two evils. “France’s problems will not vanish with Macron’s election, and we’ll see if the disappointment with François Hollande can be overcome,” he said.
Bahovski added that Macron’s personality played a major role in his win. “Le Pen, according to her own election rhetoric, embodied a person who will carry France forward by giving it new energy, and so far, it has been easy for her to do so in light of her previous rivals. But Macron is younger and more energetic than Le Pen, and hence Le Pen’s rhetoric didn’t work with him.”
After the general election in the Netherlands and the second round of the French presidential election, the wings of populism in Europe had been clipped quite a bit. “At the same time, it would be naive to think that populism will disappear anywhere,” Bahovski said.
“The battle is won, but not the war, and Macron still needs to take into account that a large portion of the voters voted for the National Front. It isn’t enough to just label the National Front to cancel it out, new politics are needed that would render its existence meaningless. This is probably the most difficult challenge Macron will have to face,” Bahovski said.
Macron’s win brought certainty that France would continue on the course towards European integration. “At the same time, we need to remember that Macron also wants to reform the European Union, which of course may create some friction with Berlin. But it is unlikely that something along those lines will happen before the elections of Germany’s Bundestag, or the French National Assembly,” Bahovski added.
Editor: Dario Cavegn