France Will Decide EU’s Future

France bears a huge burden. Are the French aware of that?

We will soon find out if France is on the democratic road to edification. Several stops have been put by the eleven presidential candidates, and the French will presumably choose the one who is all the opposite of what was sought in recent years, in France.

The first round of voting will be held on 23 April and two leading candidates will go in a second round two weeks later, on 7 May. The best chances are with the centrist independent candidate Emmanuel Macron, who supports staying in the EU and the candidate of the National Front Marine Le Pen, who stands for leaving the EU and limiting of immigration. With completely opposite presidential campaigns, they will put France in an accord that will determine not only the future of France, but also of the European Union and the world.

Statistics of supporters look quite confounding and spirited at the same time. Although 47 percent of French people, a few years ago, believed that Marine Le Pen is a danger to democracy, now only 8 percent think so. A return to the Franc is supported by only 22 percent of the French. Marine Le Pen has the support of 27 percent of the French, while Emmanuel Macron, her strongest rival, has the support of 23 percent of the French. In third place is Fillon, with 18 percent of voters’ support.

It is expected that Macron will take the final win; but, one cannot be sure of such things until the last moment. Around 70% of Le Pen’s voters are secure in their decision, while almost half of Macron’s supporters are still hesitant, and so, predicting sides that the voters would eventually take, seems kind of puerile currently. A significant influence on them will have the candidates’ debate. But why does France want to leave the road of democracy? Some cite the reasons of Brexit and Trump’s election. But a much more economic viewpoint is the populist wave that seems to have taken over the world.

Looking in retrospect, it is evident that the western world has not really seen paradise for quite a few years. Economic problems like high unemployment, dire effects of globalization, problems in the EU, terrorist attacks with numerous victims, and some more, don’t certainly reverberate favourable opinions about democracy. French tourism, notwithstanding, has suffered damages of several billion euros. The impact also has had events in the UK and the US, but the last straw was perhaps the enormous influx of asylum seekers from Syria and other Muslim countries. The percentage of the angry and scared lot of people is increasing. The result is that now in France, almost 77 percent think that democracy is not something that can functioning well; and every third Frenchman supports its replacement with another system. Maybe the greatest problem is that the right-wing parties are the most popular among 18-25-year-olds, the generation that determines the future.

These data are certainly not encouraging considering the role of France in the world. France has one of five permanent seats on the UN Security Council, besides the UK, the US, Russia and China, and thus influences the UN’s decisions. In addition, the question is with NATO and the EU, because France can create a trail for the other economies in the same direction – democracy or the opposite. 2017 will see such discomfiting political situations in Germany and Italy also. And Italy, which is combating economic issues since a reasonable amount of time, is even closer to choosing the right-wing candidate.

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