What's New(s) ? La revue de presse anglophone – Erik Ruiz Martín & Nadine Vermeulen
A tight race for just re-elected president Macron, who was in danger of falling short of a parliamentary majority after a first round of voting in parliamentary elections last Sunday. Will he keep his majority after the second round this Saturday, what does the European press predict ?
The results were surprising to many on Sunday afternoon. “Renaissance, Macron's party, and the NUPES, the alliance of left-wing parties, neck and neck!” was the headline in Le Monde newspaper after the preliminary results were in. French media agree that Macron was confident he could count on an absolute majority, however, according to Les Echos, the French president believes he is closer to a relative majority than an absolute majority. Euronews points out that the numerous polls that are being carried out are also moving further and further away from a renewal of the absolute majority that the French government counted on in the last legislature.
And what will happen if Macron and his allies fail to secure an absolute majority, according to the press ?
One of the demands that the NUPES has put on the table throughout the pre-election debate has been the appointment of its leader, Jean-Luc Melenchon, as prime minister in the event of a coalition victory. However, Alain Duhamel, political editorialist for BFMTV, sees a NUPES victory as highly unlikely, since "it would require all the projections of all the pollsters to be wrong". Anyhow, The Huffington Post recalls that in the French constitution, nothing obliges Emmanuel Macron to choose his prime minister from among the winning party in the legislative elections. In any case, EURACTIV stresses that everything is pointing toward the left alliance failing to get a majority in the second round on 19 June.
But then moving on to Ukraine, since there seems to be an important shift in the EU’s stance on the country’s candidacy ?
Indeed, after months of debate, several EU officials said this Monday that the European Commission will recommend granting Ukraine official status as an EU candidate country, revealed POLITICO. Monday’s debate in the college of Commissioners followed a surprise visit of President Von der Leyen to Kyiv last weekend, where she discussed the country’s membership bid with President Zelensky. It was her second visit to the capital since the start of the invasion. To explain the Commission’s stance, an EU official told POLITICO: The Commission does not forget that Ukraine is the only country where people died for wearing an EU flag. “Now we cannot tell them ‘Sorry guys, you were waving the wrong flags.’” The Commission’s decision would however not imply that the country’s candidacy will officially be approved, while recognising a candidacy requires the unanimous approval of the 27 heads of state and government. The Netherlands and Denmark have voiced objections, reported Radio Free Europe, with Denmark issuing a diplomatic note warning that Ukraine does not sufficiently fulfil criteria related to the stability of the institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law and human rights. The Netherlands and Denmark are not the only countries who could potentially object: both Scholz and Macron previously warned that the EU should not fast-track the candidate process for Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, wrote POLITICO. Ukrainian outlet Ukrinform stated that granting the country candidate status is key to the country’s victory.
And what does the press predict, will this indeed mean that Ukraine will be able to enter the EU soon ?
Well even Ukraine is recognised as a candidate country; this does not mean it will thus join the bloc any time soon. French president Macron said that even if the country’s candidacy is recognised, it would take more than a decade for Ukraine to join the EU, wrote POLITICO, something that could be demoralizing for the invaded country, wrote the newspaper. Some countries, including North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania, have been candidate countries for over 13 years now. “There’s no existing fast-track path to speed up the lengthy membership process” emphasized Bloomberg. It might however be the key moment to move forward with Ukraine’s candidacy and potential membership. It is the first time most people in European countries support Ukrainian membership, wrote the Guardian citing Alyona Getmanchuk, the founder and director of New Europe Center. She noted that if this decision is not taken in June, it will become more difficult when there will be more disappointment in European societies as gas prices continue to increase. Recent polls also suggest that support for EU membership among Ukrainians has soared to 91% since the start of the invasion.
Presentation : Nadine Vermeulen