French President Emmanuel Macron’s reelection on April 24, 2022, was a critical victory for the European Union. As he delivered his acceptance speech to the sound of the EU anthem “Ode to Joy” and his supporters waved the EU flag, the stark contrast with his defeated challenger Marine Le Pen was on full display. While Le Pen campaigned on a Eurosceptic platform that would have ended the EU as we know it, Macron has long held a reputation as a proponent of further European integration.
Macron’s continued stewardship of France, therefore, offers favorable prospects for a strengthening of the EU over the next five years, especially given his new claim to predominance among EU leaders. Yet, to fully realize his ambitions for the bloc during his second term, Macron will need to take greater care to forge consensus across EU member states, rather than repeating his past tendency to act unilaterally.
Macron will now need to take even greater care to coordinate with other member states, lest he is viewed as attempting to promote French interests in the EU rather than common ones.
Macron’s pro-European credentials are unambiguous. Since the first days of his presidency, he has embraced the EU as the organizing principle of his political identity, calling for reforms to strengthen the bloc in the face of both internal and external dangers. Indeed, it is remarkable that Macron — who is often criticized for his political plasticity on domestic issues — has never once swayed from his unabashed Europhilia. Having found its purest expression in Macron’s 2017 speech at the Sorbonne, where he urged “the refoundation of a sovereign, united, and democratic Europe,” the French president’s vision for the future of the EU was once again at the center of this year’s campaign.
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