For Emmanuel Macron, the European elections campaign of May 2019 has largely begun
Traveling to Slovakia and the Czech Republic a few days ago, the French president has launched his continental campaign in the heart of the “Visegrad group” (or V4) that has challenged him since the beginning of his mandate. Describing the Polish and Hungarian leaders who largely dominate this V4 “crazy spirits who lie to their people”, he resolutely shock therapy to awaken the pro-European currents in the heart of central and eastern Europe who is wary of the couple Franco-German and the Brussels Commission.
To bring about a true European spirit through Mitteleuropa as well as throughout the Union, the leader of the Europeanists will have many challenges to overcome: his traditional allies are weakened and divided; his recent or old opponents benefit from favorable conditions. The main challenge is to move from being avant-garde to unifying.
At present, the main support of the French president and its revival of European construction are significantly contested. Consider the situation of the German Chancellor: following the electoral defeats in the Länder of Bavaria and Hesse, the revolt again rumbled within the coalition CDU-CSU; because of the recriminations of the conservative currents, the reception position of Angela Merkel’s migrants has long been abandoned by the Federal Republic; faced with the challenges of the “Great Coalition” currently in the government, the Chancellor had to publicly announce that she would no longer seek the Chancellery. Main ally of the French executive in Brussels, Angela Merkel leaves Emmanuel Macron almost alone the deadline of May 2019: she is no more than a player of the past.
Wherever he turns his eyes, the French president finds only allies in a precarious situation: the Spanish Prime Minister PSOE, Pedro Sanchez, declared pro-European, has reached the supreme function with a turnaround of Parliament, the Cortes. Still in “trial period” it can not be among the undisputed opinion leaders either at national level or at European level. The Greek prime minister, who is a critical Europeanist, approaches him with weak legislative elections in the polls and is always considered with suspicion by the orthodox of the Union.
As for the European leaders, they are at the end of their term. Jean-Claude Juncker at the head of the Commission, Donald Tusk, President of the Council and Fédérica Mogherini at the head of the foreign policy of the Union hope in Emmanuel Macron. But they are victims of the outgoing syndrome that the ruthless Americans call the “lame duck” or lame duck. It is rather the French president who supports them than the opposite.