Frenchman Emmanuel Macron wins re-election: updates in real time

BRUSSELS – Sighs of relief across the European Union after President Emmanuel Macron rejected a serious challenge in France from far-right populist champion Marine Le Pen.

“Europe can breathe,” said Jean-Dominique Giuliani, president of the Robert Schuman Foundation, a pro-European research center.

Officials in Europe were also relieved that Slovenian populist three-time prime minister Janez Jansa lost due to a free coalition of centrist rivals in Sunday’s parliamentary elections, a development which means he is almost sure of being replaced as prime minister when a new government is formed.

But Ms Le Pen’s strong demonstration also reminded that populism, both on the right and on the left, remains a vibrant force in a Europe, with high voter dissatisfaction with rising inflation, soaring numbers. energy prices, slow growth, immigration and the bureaucracy emanating from the EU headquarters in Brussels.

Following the retirement late last year of Angela Merkel, the former chancellor of Germany, a re-elected Mr. Macron will inevitably be seen as the de facto leader of the European Union, with a stronger voice and standing to push matters to which he cares about. a stronger European pillar in defense and security, economic reform and the fight against climate change.

But analysts say he must also learn lessons from his first term and seek to consult more broadly. His penchant for announcing proposals rather than building coalitions annoyed his European counterparts, leaving him often portrayed as an avant-garde, with no followers.

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Emmanuel Macron defeated his far-right challenger, Marine Le Pen, becoming the first French president to be re-elected since 2002.CreditCredit…Sergey Ponomarev for the New York Times

“Europe is at the heart of his policy and will also be in his second term,” said Jeremy Shapiro, research director for the European Council for Foreign Relations in Berlin. “In the first term, he did not meet his expectations for Europe: he had many big plans but he was unable to create the coalitions he needed, with Germany and the central European states, to implement them.”

Macron “knows this lesson and is making some efforts in the context of the Russian war against Ukraine,” said Shapiro. “But he is still Emmanuel Macron”.

In his second term, Macron will “double” the ideas for the Europe in which he presented his speech at the Sorbonne in 2017, “above all the idea of ​​European sovereignty”, said Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, director of the Parisian office of the German Marshall Fund.

But in his second term, he predicted, he will be more pragmatic, building “coalitions of the willing and able” even if he can’t find unanimity among the other 26 EU members.

France holds the rotating presidency of the bloc until the end of June and one of Macron’s top priorities will be to move forward. an oil embargo on RussiaMs de Hoop Scheffer said, a move complicated by the fact that many in the block depend on Moscow for energy.

The climate agenda is important to him, especially if he wants to reach the angry left and the greens in France. And to do much in Europe, he will have to restore and strengthen the Franco-German relationship with a new, very different and divided German government.

“That relationship isn’t easy, and when you look at the Franco-German couple, not much holds us together,” said Ms de Hoop Scheffer.

There are differences in Macron’s desire for greater collective debt for another European recovery plan given the effects of the war. There is also a lack of consensus on how to handle the response to Russian aggression, he said, how much to keep the lines open with Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin, and what kind of military support should be provided to Ukraine in the in the face of German reluctance to supply heavy weapons.

Germany is also much happier to work in wartime within NATO under American leadership than to spend a lot of time on Macron’s concept of European strategic autonomy, he noted.

If Macron is smart, “French leadership in Europe will not be the follow-up by the other EU countries, but their empowerment, through their commitment to a new European vision,” said Nicholas Dungan, a senior member of the Council. Atlantic. “Macron can do it.”