Sunday, May 7, 2017


Emmanuel Macron will be the next French president. Not only did he win, his victory felt like a plebiscite.

Marine Le Pen suffered the blow of a growing backlash in Europe against everything which might have a Trump connotation. The voters are turned off by the American president's overhaul of all enlightened policies. The unabashed, abrasive campaign of Le Pen was an "Imitation of Life", Trump-style. Now, Macron needs to come up with concrete proposals both for France and for the EU. France became Europe's savior, but this added-value comes with responsibility.  Like candidate John F. Kennedy then, this French president-elect appeals more to emotion than to substance. His youth and style are in sharp contrast with the corporatism of the usual political establishment in Europe.  Today he is "politically stateless" but he will need to root his "movement" around measurable priorities for the future. 

Europe and the Western global architecture have received a boost. Probably Trump's lack of empathy with continental European values (besieged by populist outsiders in the Czech Republic, Serbia, Latvia, Poland and Croatia) will only grow.  Consequently, the former added- value of the American experiment, which is sabotaged by this Republican (mostly old white avatars) administration is on life-support. A vacuum is being created and the EU had better come up with a creative strategy before Trump and Putin fill the gap with some sloppy deal, favored by this intellectually deficient American president.

The French have voted "intelligent", so few do nowadays, and they are entitled to reap the dividend and again become Germany's unequivocal partner.  Chancellor Merkel will be the first to favor closure to end the current European gloomy outlook, after the Brexit shock. The momentum should not be lost, since Russia will meddle (as it did during the French campaign). The necessary adjustments of world order can not be handed over to a tandem of a cynical, cunning Russian and a clueless American. The reinforced Franco-German think-tank has to intervene.

Le Pen's defeat allows the French patient to recover. It would be suicidal if France's close European partners would not seize this moment for a dramatic reversal of mood, fortune and vision in the EU. The new French president carries the hopes of many. Like President Kennedy he will certainly find out that eloquence and action make often for a difficult match. Macron's victory is less a cause for celebration than a reason for geopolitical reassessments.

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