France has never seen such a flat election campaign with quite a predictable outcome, despite the dramatic scenarios of recent times (the violent Yellow Vest protests and the pandemic) and the current tragic backdrop of the war in Ukraine. Barring any last-minute surprises, Emmanuel Macron will remain at the Elysée almost without a fight. All he has to do is make the most of the divisions in the opposition ranks, on both the right and the left, and of the weakness of his challengers.
As the first round of the French presidential elections approaches, a renewed international relevance is the ace up Emmanuel Macron’s sleeve. Provided that he wins both rounds — something he seems well-poised to do — and that he keeps his comfortable majority at the National Assembly, he might successfully challenge Germany’s dominance in Europe.
The people of France will vote on 10 and 24 April to elect their President of the Republic. Not a day passes without the publication of a new poll of voting intentions, which attracts the commentary of journalists as soon as it is released. A growing number of radio and television broadcasts are filling the airwaves. There’s a flood of activity on social media.
Franco-German relations have always been at the core of Paris’ European policy. With the 2019 Aachen Treaty, Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel built on the 1963 Elysée Treaty and further strengthened their relations. Since the Covid-19 crisis, however, Paris has found itself more aligned with Rome than Berlin in many respects, as shown by a number of economic indicators. France’s average growth rate before the pandemic (2015-2019) was around 1.6%, just a bit lower than Germany’s (1.7%) and higher than Italy’s (1%).
If there is one concept dear to France in the field of defence, which sums up the French vision of European defence, it is without doubt that of “strategic autonomy”. Regularly leading to misunderstandings or concerns from Paris’ allies, it is increasingly replaced by "strategic sovereignty", a term deemed more conciliatory. Beyond this semantic debate, and prior to any analyses of France’s agenda in terms of European defence, a definition of the structuring concept around French defence is necessary.
France heads to the polls for its presidential election as Europe’s political agenda is derailed by the war in Ukraine. Macron is attempting to hold on to power following a harder than expected electoral campaign.
Thomas Gomart serves as Director of the French Institute of International Affairs (Ifri). A world-renowned Russia expert, he founded Ifri's Russia/NIS Centre in 2004 and directed it until 2013. His most recent book, "Guerres invisibles - Nos prochains défis géopolitiques", was published in 2021 by Éditions Tallandier. In this interview with ISPI, he provides an overview of France's diplomatic relations with the EU and Russia, and of the impact the current conflict in Ukraine has on Macron's policy agenda.
Five years ago, Macron opted for a risky strategy, betting on conquering a space at the centre of the political spectrum without a supporting party. Centrist candidates were usually unable to win, with their electorate tipping the balance in favour of the left or the right depending on the prevailing mood and/or the personality of the two remaining candidates in the second round. Macron won his bet and, as a consequence, helped accelerate the decay of the traditional parties.
Many people saw Emmanuel Macron’s election in 2017 as a watershed moment in French politics and a sign of renewal in the French political landscape. Macron, who was elected on a passionately pro-European platform, promised to introduce far-reaching reforms that would make France an innovative hub, more economically sound and a continued trusted ally in the world. But how well has Macron done over the past five years?
On 17 February 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the withdrawal of French military forces from Mali. Far from unexpected, the announcement came as a result of rapidly escalating tensions between Paris and Mali’s rulers.
Welcome to Pivot to Asia, our new monthly newsletter on key issues and trends in Asia. Today, we turn the spotlight on the France's Ministerial Forum for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific and on its implications for the Eu’s policy towards Asia and China.
France reinforces its Space Strategy to compete in the new arena, with a focus on EU cooperation.