ELECTION INTERFERENCE? GERMANY, SPAIN AND PORTUGAL OPENLY CAMPAIGN AGAINST MARINE LE PEN
Election interference? Leaders of Germany, Spain and Portugal pen letter urging French to reject ‘far-right’ Le Pen and reelect ‘democratic’ Macron
The European leaders claimed Sunday’s election is between a “democratic candidate” and a “far-right candidate who openly sides with those who attack our freedom and our democracy.”
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, left, speaks with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, center, and Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa during a round table meeting at an extraordinary EU summit on Ukraine in Brussels, Thursday, Feb 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert, Pool)
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa penned a column published by the Le Monde daily newspaper in France just hours after the televised debate between presidential contenders Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, in which they called on the French people to vote for Emmanuel Macron, who they label the “democratic candidate,” in Sunday’s second-round election.
The letter states the choice facing the French people “is crucial for France and for all of us in Europe” and claims their choice is between a “democratic candidate who believes that France is stronger in a powerful and autonomous European Union, and a far-right candidate, who openly sides with those who attack our freedom and our democracy.”
The three leaders claim to be of the belief that the war launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin against Ukraine “targets the values that France and our countries defend: democracy, sovereignty, freedom and the rule of law” and carries the risk of “redrawing borders by force, as (…) has been done so many times in our bloody past.”
Different visions for Europe
“Populists and the extreme right in all our countries have made Vladimir Putin an ideological and political model, echoing his nationalist demands,” the European leaders claim, insisting that populists across Europe have copied Putin’s attacks on minorities and diversity. “They share his dream of a uniform nation,” they write, adding that Europeans must not forget it even if populists now seek to distance themselves from Russia.
The three leaders are well known for their promotion of mass immigration into Europe, a position greatly at odds with the opinion of French citizens, who overwhelmingly reject more immigration, according to polling. Under Macron’s tenure, immigration has surged, and over 400,000 foreign nationals enter the country each year.
“We need France by our side (…) A France which defends our common values, in Europe in which we recognize ourselves, which is free and open to the world, sovereign, strong and generous at the same time,” the letter reads.
“It is this France that is also on the April 24 ballot. We hope that the citizens of the French Republic will choose it,” conclude the authors of the tribune.
The concept of ever closer union is one of the central divisions in the presidential duel between Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron: the former historically wanting to gradually replace the European Union with an alliance of nations; the latter demanding greater collective sovereignty and European autonomy.