No to Le Pen, Yes to France

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany and France are Europe’s biggest economies. An effective partnership between them is essential to overcome the threat of nationalism, the author argues.

  • Facts


    • The final round of the French presidential elections will be held on May 7.
    • Independent candidate Emmanuel Macron is currently ahead in the polls, followed by nationalist Marine le Pen.
    • Germany will elect a new parliament and chancellor on September 24.
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A pedestrian walks past campaign posters for the 2017 French presidential election in Paris
All eyes are on France as far-right candidate Marine Le Pen runs a close second in opinion polls. Source: Reuters

While the polls don’t suggest we are teetering on the edge of a European abyss, in this French presidential election, anything is possible. That’s precisely what makes it both alarming and potentially historical. It’s also the reason that why it doesn’t make sense to forge a Plan B in case Marine Le Pen gets elected. But a Plan A in case of a victory for Emmanuel Macron or Francois Fillon is an absolute must.

In short: Germany needs to launch a Franco-German initiative immediately after the French presidential election, and before parliamentary elections in Germany. We cannot wait until the start of 2018.

With the scourge of nationalism paralyzing the EU, the German election campaign should be focused on what’s really important. Geopolitically, this means Vladimir Putin, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Syria and Donald Trump. We must do everything we can to move Europe forward again, and a Franco-German initiative – based around a comprehensive new security policy and a practical new agreement over economic policy – should lead the way.

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