August 30, 2018
Macron's strategy for Europe
Emmanuel Macron needs allies for his European ambitions. He is currently touring the Scandinavian EU countries as part of his mission to win over more potential partners which remain sceptical. With only nine months to go before the European elections his aim is to recompose the political landscape in the European parliament the way he did in France last year. He plans to convince the more sceptical parties that it is time to address taboos, including treaty change, and to stand up for an open and independent Europe. And Macron wants France to take over the role of mediator.
The hostility of Victor Orban and Matteo Salvini serve him well. This polarisation allows Macron to call for progressive forces to rally behind him against the populist extremes. He frames the European elections as a referendum on Orban's ultraconservative vision of Europe. Orban could bring the EPP to a boiling point and allow Macron to reap the benefits. If Macron manages to get some from votes from the EPP and the Socialists, he would be in a good position to become the leaders of the pro-European forces in the European Parliament. It is a risky strategy, writes Le Monde, in particular since the EPP also includes Angela Merkel's party. Macron will have to convince potential allies to confront the eurosceptic right head-on, a move not everyone is ready to embrace.
For Macron the European elections are also important at the national level. If he loses, people might wonder whether his presidency was just an accident.