The Strategist

Emmanuel Macron wins. Why not Le Pen?

05/08/2017 - 06:15

France decided on a winner of the second round of the presidential election. In the next five years, the country will be led by leader of the "En Marche!" movement. 39-year-old Emmanuel Macron is now the eighth president of the Fifth Republic, and the youngest national leader in the history of France. Most of the French who came to the election preferred the candidate who represents the most important principles of the Fifth Republic, that is, regulation of a qualified elite and commitment to European integration. What does Macron’s victory mean for France and Europe?

Ecole polytechnique Université Paris-Saclay
Ecole polytechnique Université Paris-Saclay
Primarily, Macron has been chosen for the sake of matured and overripe reforms of the economic and social system, for a partial and inevitable revision of the costliest social security system in Europe, which makes the country almost completely uncompetitive. At the same time, it is necessary to preserve what has already been achieved. Therefore, Macron gathered voices of supporters of candidates screened in the first round and even less fortunate politicians, including a representative of the once great Socialist Party. 

The choice of the French majority is obvious. Marine Le Pen coming to power would lead to a political explosion both at the national and the European level. For many reasons, she would be categorically rejected by whole social strata of French society. Defending their principles, people would massively take to the streets, and the nuclear nation would find itself on the verge of a civil war. Besides, let’s not forget that France is a country of revolutionary political culture. The most important economical solution offered by Le Pen - revision of France's participation in the euro area - would lead to the risk of a partial devaluation of the population's savings after the hypothetical "new franc" was devalued. Therefore, the French, being bourgeois by their nature, voted for Macron partly to save their purses.

At the Pan-European level, election of Marín Le Pen would have become the very beginning of the end of the European Union. France's withdrawal from the euro and the Schengen zones would make the entire European project meaningless, primarily for its main partner - Germany. The latter would have to alone confront aggressive Poland, having no support from poor or small countries. A united Europe without France is impossible, and France, as an important global player, is impossible without Europe standing behind the country. Therefore, the most important problem of Macron is the European problem. The mechanisms that make France's participation in the EU absolutely beneficial have been largely exhausted by 2017, similar to what happened to the UK in the fateful June 2016. However, the British elites split, a significant part of the establishment was radicalized and led the country astray from the European Union.

On the other hand, the French retained unity and brought a new face to power. However, the European problem has not disappeared anywhere as such. Moreover, it remains the most important threat to the Fifth Republic, in the same way that the colonial problem has become fatal for the Fourth Republic. Then the colonial question was radically solved by the great Frenchman, General de Gaulle. If the current relations between France and the EU do not change, then the explosion can happen in the next five years.

There are two issues - the euro, restraining development of the production sector, doors opened for migrants. None of them can be solved at the national level. And this means that Macron will need to look for exchanges and combinations that will benefit France, but at the same time will have a positive impact on the unity within the EU and the harmony in the transatlantic relations.

In other words, France will need to immerse itself deeper into Europe in order to start reaping the benefits from Europe. Macron and his German partners are now waiting for a decisive battle with Poland, which is stubbornly resisting the movement towards greater integration. And this fight will require involvement of the largest number of small and medium-sized countries of the European Union.


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