EU breathes easy after Macron re-election

Brussel, Apr 25 (EFE).- Emmanuel Macron’s re-election as France’s president means the European Union can breathe a sigh of relief and renew its effort to build a unified front against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the geopolitical uncertainty that reigns in the region.

Macron’s strength in the bloc, however, will only become fully clear following France’s legislative elections in June.

In his first five years in the Elysée, liberal president Macron fully became a leading champion of the European project, a position threatened by his election rival, the far-right and eurosceptic Marine Le Pen.

Le Pen’s vision of a so-called Europe of nations, whereby the EU’s centralized powers were defanged in favor of national sovereignty, as well as her proposal to reinstate relations with Russia after the Ukraine war, would have sent tremors through the bloc.

The relief at the heart of the EU was evidenced in the speed at which its senior officials reacted to the results of the French election before they were even finalized. The full count, which varied little from the early projections, gave Macron 58.54% of the vote to Le Pen’s 41.46%.

Ursula von der Leyen, head of the European Commission, said: “I look forward to continuing our excellent cooperation, together we will move France and Europe forward.”

Her counterpart at the European Council, Charles Michel, added: “In this turbulent period, we need a solid Europe and a France totally committed to a more sovereign and more strategic European Union. We can count on France for 5 more years.”

Macron’s re-election was a victory for European and democratic values in the eyes of Brussels.

But it was not without its caveats. Abstention levels were high and Le Pen’s results confirmed the surge of the far-right in a disgruntled and divided France.

The presidential election was the first step in a much longer Macron-Le Pen duel. The extent to which Macron will be able to pursue policies and reforms will depend on how his centrist-liberal LREM party fares in the upcoming parliamentary elections in June. EFE


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