As the 2022 French presidential election unfolds, the divergent foreign policy stances of the finalists, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, come to the forefront. This article meticulously examines their positions on critical global issues, shedding light on their views regarding Europe, immigration, remembrance, counterterrorism in the Sahel, the war in Ukraine, and NATO.
Macron's Europhile Agenda
Emmanuel Macron, an unwavering Europhile, has consistently championed the European Union (EU) as a cornerstone of his diplomatic agenda. Viewing the EU as pivotal for addressing environmental and security concerns, Macron advocates for bolstering the bloc's energy independence and military capabilities. His commitment extends to the European Green Deal, a pathway to carbon neutrality by 2050. Macron, currently holding the rotating EU presidency, aims to reform the Schengen Area, emphasizing strengthened external borders and unified rules on asylum and migration.
Le Pen's Evolution on Europe
In a significant departure from her 2017 stance, Marine Le Pen's 2022 platform now advocates for reforming the EU from within rather than pushing for a Frexit. She emphasizes collaboration with allies like Hungary and Poland while questioning the efficacy of the Franco-German partnership. Le Pen calls for a reduction in France's EU budget contribution, curtailed European Commission jurisdiction, and, notably, a temporary reinstatement of border controls within the Schengen Area.
Immigration Policies: Macron vs. Le Pen
Macron, despite record-high immigration during his tenure, views it as an opportunity, advocating for a revamped system and increased deportations of undocumented migrants. In contrast, Le Pen prioritizes staunch anti-immigration measures, including an end to family reunifications, birthright citizenship, and a preference for French nationals in housing and employment. Her platform seeks to overhaul the immigration evaluation process and pledges systematic deportation for undocumented or convicted foreigners.
Commemoration and Historical Perspectives
Macron's presidency has witnessed symbolic gestures regarding France's colonial past, accompanied by efforts at reconciliation, while Le Pen focuses on defending national interests and avoiding what she sees as divisive signs of repentance. Their differing approaches to acknowledging historical events, especially those related to Algeria, underscore their distinct visions for France's role in addressing its past.
Counterterrorism in the Sahel: Macron's Persistence vs. Le Pen's Silence
France's military involvement in the Sahel, a key aspect of its foreign policy, faces scrutiny as Macron seeks to maintain a French presence despite the challenges in Mali. Le Pen's platform remains silent on counterterrorism in the Sahel, highlighting a divergence in priorities and a lack of specificity on her part.
War in Ukraine: Macron's Balancing Act vs. Le Pen's Evolving Position
Macron's nuanced approach to the war in Ukraine, emphasizing dialogue with Putin, contrasts with Le Pen's evolving stance. While both express concern for the conflict, Macron calls for international inquiries into war crimes, while Le Pen navigates her ties with Russia, acknowledging war crimes and amending her position in light of unfolding events.
NATO: Macron's Critique and Le Pen's Strategic Rapprochement
Macron's critical stance on NATO notwithstanding, he sees its utility, especially in the context of the war in Ukraine. Le Pen, in contrast, advocates for withdrawing France from NATO's military command but expresses willingness to keep France within the alliance. Her vision includes a strategic rapprochement between NATO and Russia post-Ukraine conflict.
As France approaches the decisive vote on April 24, the foreign policy divergence between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron is stark. Their contrasting views on Europe, immigration, historical commemoration, counterterrorism, the war in Ukraine, and NATO highlight the profound choices facing French voters and the potential impact on the nation's global standing. The intricacies of their positions underscore the complexity of the geopolitical landscape in the 2022 French presidential election.