Macron’s Election Win: Saving Europe Project or Extending EU’s Deadline?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Hossein Mofidi Ahmadi
Europe Researcher

After many months of election campaigning, France’s independent and centrist presidential candidate, Emmanuel Macron, who hails from the newly established “En Marche!” party, has won the country’s presidential poll. The results of the French presidential election can entail fears and hopes for the European Union (EU). It seems that despite many promising points that arise from Macron’s win in the French presidential election, his arrival at the Élysée Palace, must be seen more as an opportunity to extend the EU’s deadline for implementing institutional reforms than a step to save the Europe project.

There are many promising points in Macron’s election win from the viewpoint of the European Union. Firstly, macron has been probably the most pro-EU French president since Valéry Giscard d'Estaing left office. He has a good knowledge of EU institutions due to the important role that he played as a minister in formulating EU’s policies. Macron also seeks reforms in the European Union, especially in the eurozone. His desirable reforms include enforcement of a common monetary policy and establishment of an institution to serve as a common ministry of economy in order to complement the EU’s banking union. Secondly, success of the eurosceptic candidate in the French presidential election in getting people’s votes in the runoff has been less than expected. After election of Macron, French and Germany are more possible to join hands as the main driving forces behind the European Union.

Another important point for the European Union is that although Macron always sought an intermediate solution for dealing with the Brexit, his presence at the Élysée Palace will probably boost the EU’s standing in negotiations over Britain’s divorce from the union. Another important point is Macron’s potential to emerge as a charismatic European leader in the European Union. It seems that absence of a pro-EU leader with high leadership power has been one of the problems nagging the European Union for years. Another promising point for the EU is that French election results proved that although some EU’s policies are not very popular across the continent and in France, people are still throwing their weight behind the idea that a powerful Europe benefits all European countries. Another noteworthy point is the apparent contradiction in Macron’s election. Macron was known as an anti-establishment candidate and, in fact, the political system in France has been able to produce a new alternative within itself. Therefore, it would be possible for other European countries to move toward production of new pro-EU alternatives instead of anti-EU and eurosceptic ones.

Despite the aforesaid promising points, there are still many causes of concern for the European Union and pro-EU currents. Firstly, the eurosceptic Marine Le Pen has won more votes in a French election than any other anti-EU leader in the country. The second point of concern for the EU is multiplication of eurosceptic candidates. This phenomenon has been referred to as the “articulation of political conflict over the EU” and “politicization of Europe.”[1] During recent election, the most important eurosceptic candidates at two ends of the political spectrum, that is, ultra-right and ultra-left, managed to win high votes. Some of those candidates drew strong support from workers and other lower classes that consider the European Union as a facilitator of the negative consequences of globalization.

The last point is that promoting France’s role as a driving force behind convergence in Europe is only possible if the new president manages to improve the country’s economic indexes and this is not an easy task to pull off. Perhaps this is why Macron’s win must be considered more of an opportunity to extend the EU’s deadline for conducting institutional reforms than an opportunity to save the Europe project. European leaders and EU officials have no other choice, but to boost efficiency of EU institutions, especially in the field of economy, become more democratic and pay more attention to concerns and demands of European citizens. In order to boost the EU’s efficiency in the field of economy, it needs to introduce new mechanisms for redistribution of economic advantages of globalization while taking steps to reduce its negative impacts.


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*Photo Credit: AFR

*These views represent those of the author and are not necessarily Iran Review's viewpoints.


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