EU news: Brussels urged to address France as bloc ignores Le Pen success | World | New
President Emmanuel Macron won the French presidential election in April by a narrower margin against National Rally leader Marine Le Pen compared to their 2017 stalemate. Growing levels of support, experts warn Ms Le Pen will have a real chance of winning in 2026 unless the EU reaches out to voters inclined to support far-right parties.
Researcher associated with the Henry Jackson Society, Dr Helena Ivanov, has argued that Brussels should not ignore Ms Le Pen’s success until the next presidential election, urging the bloc to communicate with far-right voters.
She told Express.co.uk: “We need to start engaging, like, for example, with France now.
“Macron won, but now is the time to address the people who voted for Le Pen. Now is the time to think about it. Not in three years when we enter the electoral campaign, that this time is now.
“They have to be careful of France. They literally should have started to be careful the day after the election.
“Be like ‘Thank God Macron won. So we have political stability and so on. However, we have this not inconsiderable substantial number of people in France who very clearly have completely different opinions about where France should go.”
“Instead of just letting go now, then three years from now, addressing some of the concerns. No, those concerns need to be addressed right away. Those people who voted for Le Pen in the last election cycle, they need to be targeted now. , to be able to preemptively respond to a lot of things, solve a lot of problems that these people might have.
“Because ultimately it will undermine Le Pen or whoever comes after his campaign when we see the next election cycle in France. Now is the time to react to that.”
EuroIntelligence director Wolfgang Munchau echoed concerns over the rise of far-right parties across the bloc, warning that Italy’s new prime minister Giorgia Meloni could be crucial to the outcome of the upcoming French elections.
He wrote: “Do not underestimate the Meloni effect: Giorgia Meloni, the leader of Italy’s far-right, will become the next Italian Prime Minister, and will probably still be in power in the next French presidential elections in 2026. Macron government is worn out by a series of crises.
“He is immobilized, with only a relative majority in the assembly. The cost-of-living crisis is also manna from heaven for Le Pen, and it gives his I-had-you-so narrative credibility. It will reap profits from past campaigns.”
In Paris, Emmanuel Macron’s government is increasingly worried about the rise of Eurosceptic forces in the EU.
Speaking to France Inter radio, French Secretary of State for Europe Laurence Boone said Ms Meloni’s popularity is worrying, “because it reflects the dismay of voters who are turning away from traditional parties and because answers (from the far right) are unstable, on the euro, on Russia”.
Asked if she was concerned about future relations between France and Italy if Ms Meloni became Prime Minister before the election, she replied: “So we can have a working relationship.
“What worries me are the back and forth and the uncertainty that this creates on such important subjects as Russia and social rights.
“We have made a lot of progress on health, defence, climate, energy, social issues (…) and that is not going to slow down.
“But there are subjects on which it will be more difficult when we talk about immigration or social issues, abortion.”
As in other European countries, Italy’s cost of living crisis has overshadowed other concerns such as immigration, crime and public services.
The conservative alliance has called for tax cuts across the board to help Italians cope with rising prices, while the PD wants tax cuts to be targeted more at low-income groups.
Ms Meloni has repeatedly expressed her support for Western policy against Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. But League chief Matteo Salvini called on the European Union to protect Italians from the economic side effects of sanctions imposed on Russia following the invasion.
Ms Boone’s comments also came as the election in Sweden marked a turning point in Swedish politics with the anti-immigration Swedish Democrats, a party rooted in the white supremacist fringe, poised to gain influence over government policy this week.
The success of the party, which succeeded Ulf Kristersson’s Moderates as the country’s second largest, has raised fears that Sweden’s tolerant and inclusive politics are a thing of the past.