Brussels breathes a sigh of relief after far-right Marine Le Pen’s defeat

Brussels breathes a sigh of relief after far-right Marine Le Pen’s defeat
Brussels breathes a sigh of relief after far-right Marine Le Pen’s defeat

A veteran diplomat confessed months ago: “The European Union withstood a decade of far-right governments in Poland. It resists the far-right of Meloni in Italy and could resist a far-right Spain. Germany is vaccinated. But if France falls, the bloc will come to a standstill, if not dissolve.”. The phrase was then pessimistic, when it was believed that Marine Le Pen’s National Rally could obtain the 289 deputies necessary, in Sunday’s elections, to force President Emmanuel Macron to appoint his successor Joan Bardella as Prime Minister. It didn’t happen.

It did not happen because the ‘republican front’ worked once again in France, the left and the centre-right voted for each other to stop the Le Pen candidates and the country will probably have a left-wing prime minister.

Most European chancelleries and institutions of the European Union They breathed a sigh of reliefSunday night. Because France is probably the essential country in the European Union (the only one with nuclear weapons and its second economy) and because with France the ultras would have added the blocking minority necessary to paralyse legislative processes in the European Union.

The role of France is essential in the European institutions. The bloc is driven by Franco-German momentum. Without France, Germany struggles to move the rest. In Eastern Europe, France is seen as the military security power on the western side of the continent, especially after the British exit from the European UnionA Le Pen France would be an ally of the Kremlin, a Russian fifth columnist in Europe.

The French result not only prevents the Le Penists from governing, sends them to third place in the National Assembly French and leaves them in a bad position in the European Parliament, where they were fighting with the Melonists to lead the new large far-right group.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni. Photo: Reuters

For now, Meloni’s party will remain in a smaller group with the more presentable far right, while Le Pen’s party will join the new group created by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, which brings together the entire far-right spectrum, including the neo-Nazis of the Flemish Vlaams Belang and the Austrian FPO. It is a group, for the most part, with pro-Russian sympathies. with which the rest of the forces will not negotiate anything. It will be the third force in the European Parliament, but it will be outside the majority.

“The worst was avoided”

The messages sent on Sunday night to diplomats and officials from various countries in the bloc returned with very similar responses, which could be summarized as follows: “the worst has been avoided.”

Brussels knows that France is now going through a complicated phase of managing the results that a National Assembly has produced for the first time. with three large blocks, that there will have to be negotiation and coalitions, something that most European countries are used to (there are three parties in the German government, three in the Italian one, two in the Spanish one, four in the Dutch one, three in the Polish one, seven in the Belgian one, to name a few) but France does not.

There are fears in the European institutions that France continue in a period of instability If Macron and the left fail to agree on a stable government for the next three years, until the presidential elections in 2027, but the feeling is one of relief because Problems have solutions and The hypothesis of a France in the hands of the extreme right was considered an existential threat.

The French and British results from last Thursday, both with progressive majoritiesalso show that the supposed conservative wave sweeping through Europe must be relativized.

New British Labour Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer. Photo: AP

If Macron were to appoint, as expected, a progressive prime minister in France, four of the five largest European countries would have heads of government from social democracy: the social democrat Olaf Scholz in Germany, the socialist Pedro Sanchez in Spain, the labor Keir Starmer in the UK and a socialist in France.

On Sunday evening, even conservatives who refuse to sit down with the far right were rejoicing, such as former European Council President and now Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who wrote on X: “Enthusiasm in Paris, disappointment in Moscow, relief in kyiv. Enough to be happy in Warsaw.”

In some circles in Brussels there is concern that a left-wing government will be more lax in economic management because France is with Italy The sick European with a public deficit of 5.5% at the end of 2023 and a public debt that is around 110% of GDP. But sources in those circles understand that the alternative, the Le Pen supporters, was much worse.

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