In Germany, Macron denounced the “cold winds” in Europe

In Germany, Macron denounced the “cold winds” in Europe

A week and a half before the European elections, Emmanuel Macron has no choice but to talk about the European elections. The French president and “convinced European” is on a state visit to Germany from Sunday to Tuesday, and anyone who didn’t know any better would think this was an election event. The President takes every opportunity to stress the importance of the European Union and calls on voters to vote in the elections to be held from 6 to 9 June (depending on the member state).

While Germany and France have sparred behind the scenes on many topics — from support for Israel to the utility of nuclear energy and the need for a protectionist foreign policy — the three-day state visit, which began Sunday evening, is mainly focused on the overlap. And there is, although it is not only positive. For example, both Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have weak positions in their countries: Macron is not particularly popular due to a series of reforms and high national debt; Schulz leads a fragile coalition of three parties, all of which have lost their popularity since ruling the country.

There are also fears in the two European capitals that the far right will win during the European elections. Macron alluded to his concerns not-so-subtlely on Monday afternoon during a speech at a youth event Europe Day In the city of Dresden, Saxony, where the German far-right party AfD is based He does a particularly good job. “We can determine the future of our continent more than ever before.” Macron gods As for the Church of Our Lady, which was bombed in 1945. “Europe can die if it makes bad decisions” – words he also said last month at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

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“To be resolutely European”

A day before that, Macron said in a press conference in Berlin that he wanted to adhere to “France’s ideas.” [radicaal-rechtse] National Assembly.” “Unlike many, I will never get used to the idea that the National Front is a normal party” – a jibe aimed at politicians in France and elsewhere in Europe who collaborate with the far right. In Dresden, the president did not mention the National Front or the AfD by name, but he spoke extensively about the dangers he believes these types of parties pose. “Look around you,” Macron told the young attendees. “Look at the fascination with authoritarian regimes, look at the illiberal moment we are in. The far right, these dark winds blowing in Europe, are a reality.”

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The fears are not unfounded, especially for Paris. The National Rally has been leading in opinion polls for months. The party’s support rate currently stands at 31.8 percent Of the expected votesThat is nearly double the number of members of the Renewal Party, the European branch of Macron’s party. For Macron, it is also important that the European elections in France are seen as a precursor to the 2027 presidential election, in which he will no longer be allowed to stand. It is also no coincidence that Macron has National Front leader Marine Le Pen Invited To be discussed before the European elections, although neither of them plays an official role in these elections. Le Pen and her European party leader, Jordan Bardella I also point out The year 2027 is not far away.

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Latest opinion polls

In Germany, the Alternative for Germany party is not in the lead Polls – This is the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union party led by former Chancellor Angela Merkel. But there, according to the latest opinion polls, the far-right party comes in second place – far ahead of Schulz’s Social Democrats. This is despite numerous reports condemning things such as spying and extremist statements by AfD members. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who gave a brief introduction before Macron’s speech in Dresden, said he would “continue to defend democracy and freedom in Europe.”

Look at the fascination with authoritarian regimes, look at the illiberal moment we are inEmmanuel Macron In Dresden

Other topics Macron addressed in Dresden were the importance of supporting Ukraine and strengthening European autonomy – two of the president’s interests. In doing so, he tried to find common ground with Berlin by proposing to “stop being a nationalist or a transatlanticist”: according to Paris, Germany is too focused on the United States, and France, according to Germany, is too inward. “Let us be resolutely French and German,” Macron suggested. “Resolutely European.” These words of the French president will likely be appreciated in Brussels, but the question is whether Macron will also be able to reach the French voter with them. Outside Voter survey Ipsos, among others, shows that the French are more concerned with the migration crisis (42%) and climate change (36%) than with European defense (28%) and support for Ukraine (13%). Although Macron’s party also campaigns on climate, he is accused of not having a good sense of what is happening in his country.

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The state visit continued on Monday evening with a dinner attended by Schulz and Steinmeier. The German and French ministers will meet on Wednesday and a press conference with Schulz and Macron will follow, which is expected to focus more on bilateral agreements. The state visit, the first since 2000, was not planned to take place so close to the European elections. It was supposed to take place last summer, but was postponed because France was in the grip of riots after 17-year-old Nahil was shot dead by police.

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