The French Election and Europe’s Future
In all likelihood, French voters will elect the centrist Emmanuel Macron as their next president on May 7. But the strong showing for anti-establishment candidates in the election's first round should be a wake-up call for all who want to ensure the EU's long-term survival.
BERLIN – A lot can happen between now and the second round of the French presidential election on May 7, so it is still too early to celebrate. But, even with the nationalist, populist candidate Marine Le Pen still in the running, many observers are genuinely hopeful that the first-round winner, Emmanuel Macron, will be France’s next president.
With Macron’s victory, Europe would avoid self-destruction yet again. A President Le Pen would almost surely bring about the end of the European Union. Taking France out of the eurozone, as Le Pen has promised, would lead to the collapse of the euro itself. After that, the EU common market and other core institutions would fall like dominoes. Europe would plunge into the abyss, and 60 years of political, economic, and social progress would be lost.
Moreover, Le Pen wants to withdraw France from NATO and pursue friendlier relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. This would throw current security arrangements across Europe into chaos, quite possibly leading to panic among investors and plunging the continent into economic crisis. The political consequences are scarcely predicable.