Emmanuel Macron “wants to lead a European project”, says Allen
The French president is battling politicians who have come to denigrate the EU. It comes as France is only months away from a national election, with many officials viewing the supremacy of EU law over member state constitutions as unfair. The dispute in France follows a recent Polish court ruling that challenged the legal basis of the EU.
The Constitutional Court declared that certain articles of the EU treaty were incompatible with the Polish constitution.
Now strong criticism of the EU and calls for France to assert its national sovereignty have come not only from the far right, as we usually see, but also from presidential candidates. who are part of the French political movement.
Mr. Macron has been largely silent on the issue that has found itself at the heart of the country’s discourse.
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However, as Mujtaba Rahman, managing director of the Eurasia group, said in an analysis article for Politico, Mr. Macron would now prefer “to avoid a disorderly debate on existential questions concerning the EU”.
He noted that many have since wondered why the French president – usually the first to assert a strong European line – has taken a “more pragmatic approach” to the unfolding conflict.
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But the Polish court case threatens to reopen an old argument in France, recalling clues to what set the agenda for the UK’s eventual departure from the EU in 2016: national sovereignty.
French politicians have since aligned themselves to denigrate the EU, including Valérie Pécresse, leader of the Paris region, who is campaigning to be the presidential candidate of the conservative Les Républicains party in the elections next April.
Speaking last month, she told reporters: “Europe is a Europe of nations.
“This means that our constitutional laws, our constitutional identity, each one, each sovereign state, must prevail over European jurisdiction. “
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“France, which does not share Poland’s political tendencies, will nevertheless have to carry out the same affirmation of the superiority of its laws over European decisions. “
Senior French officials have reportedly claimed that Macron listened to his colleagues’ rhetoric with concern.
Some have even gone so far as to assert that Mr. Macron is ready to defend the EU in light of the revival of the constitutional debate in France.
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“He is ready to argue that the EU’s single market would collapse – with dire consequences for France – if each country were able to impose its own laws or if, as in the case of Poland, the rule of law itself was eroded. “
Mr Rahman added that Mr Macron is “ready” to argue that EU law is not “imposed” on France, and will instead say that it is democratically accepted by governments in the European Council and directly elected members of the European Parliament.
However, officials also say Mr Macron is keen not to be portrayed as slavishly pro-European and pro-Brussels.
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Mr Macron appears to be navigating political turmoil with a hand tied behind his back.
For the first half of next year, France assumes the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU.
It is during the months that his political campaign will be well underway.
Due to the EU presidency, he could be forced to conduct negotiations with Warsaw on the court ruling in the weeks leading up to the French vote.
It could provide its traditional opponents with political ammunition in what is shaping up to be a tight presidential race.