2017 had a rocky start with President Trump shifting his literal weight about in the Oval Office, joining Kim Jong-Un in their “crazy fat kid” club. Admit it, we all thought everything would continue to go down south with the sudden airstrikes on Syria by the US and the almost deranged nuclear testings prepared by the DPRK on two instances, one when Shinzo Abe visited the US and the other when Xi Jinping visited the same US. Everything seemed to pile up against the President of the United States, especially when the rhetoric of the North Korean leader gets even more aggressive. Heck, it almost seemed as if he could push that bright red button sitting on his desk with that very same blithe lawlessness he had expressed for the large part of his tenure.
Things wouldn’t go that badly, right?
No one expected this, to be honest. No one could trust the words of experts. The arbitrary team of “experts” predicted the rise of President Hillary Clinton, but they received their negative result; President Trump. Since then, there’s been hope from the progressive that all Le Pen predictions would turn out to be false. Yet Macron managed to beat Le Pen despite her seniority within French Politics from both her father’s term in office and the expulsion of her father from the party orchestrated by none other than herself. Talk about ruthlessness.
So what does this mean for the French Republic? The first few steps Macron should take, in my opinion, is to pacify anti-EU sentiments, listen to the concerns of those who supported Marine Le Pen and educate the public about the need for France within the EU, for the good of both France and the single economy. Pacifying anti-EU sentiments would be his toughest job, but he mustn’t forget that France, just like much of the Western world, is built upon the bedrock of democracy, such that any calls for a Frexit would turn the election results against him. Admittedly, the establishment of the EU, as per the concerns of many eurosceptics, is the dissolution of national identity such that it cancels out the sovereignty of every member of the European Union through the creation of a superstate. This means that Macron has the added responsibility to first understand the reasons for such concerns instead of brushing them off as populistic ideas. That is his hope in dealing and combating directly against his populist political opponents such as Marine Le Pen herself, who would use fear-mongering and hate to further her political cause.
Macron would next need to further emphasise the need for France to remain in the EU. It is true that in most circumstances, prevarications would only lead to certain inaction, following which would result in further unwanted ramifications. However, unlike his predecessor and mentor, Francois Hollande, Macron needs a more vociferous tone in his rhetoric and a more identifiable voice. In essence, people need to know that they have elected a president that stands in stark contrast to the voice of their former president. That would give him enough credibility to sustain his term of office as well as to ascertain his victory in future elections if he so wishes to run a second time. With that comes his emphasis of a need for France to be in the EU so that trade deals not only stretches out between France and the other 26 countries (deliberately leaving the UK out of the picture), France also gets to enjoy trade deals and benefits shared between the EU and the other countries the EU had already signed with before. The existence of France within the EU is also imperative to the survival of the EU as the French GDP makes up about 16% of the entire EU’s GDP, making France the most powerful economy in the EU only seconded by Germany.
With the continent caught in wars that have lasted for ages till the establishment of the EU and NATO, it is safe to say that the EU and/or NATO is crucial in maintaining regional stability. Unlike the stubborn nature of certain countries who claim that they do not need the help of any other country in times of war (yes, Singapore, I’m looking at you), the EU gives their member states ample opportunities to work together in establishing their economies and protecting the sovereignty of every nation. This would mean that all EU members have the responsibility to defend their 26 other neighbours. This effectively prevents Germany and France from getting into wars with each other and further promulgates the peace they currently enjoy through economic and military cooperation, thereby proving the point for a necessary EU.
Sure, the EU may have flaws, but it is up to Macron to identify such flaws. At this point in time, if Macron himself was opportunistic himself, he would’ve thought about raising issues within EU laws, called for further discussions on the rectifying of these laws and on the aiding of member nations, in particular, countries such as Greece and Ireland. This would’ve angered Germany a little, but this is a step closer to helping bridge the gap between Greece and Germany. France, on the other hand, would also reap benefits from facilitating such talks because it would’ve been a major party involved in the improving of the EU as a whole. Macron himself would reap so much more political benefits due to his utter difference from Hollande.
Sure, this article is vague itself, but it is a short summarised cheat sheet for the subsequent political victories of Macron, France and the EU. He would’ve been able to solve 3 problems at once: eradicating populism in France (to an extent), further stabilising Europe and the successful fortification of his political career.
Image creds: The Guardian