Paris (Times Of Ocean)- Ahead of France’s crucial presidential election, European leaders rallied Thursday in support of incumbent Emmanuel Macron and warned French voters against choosing “a far-right candidate who openly sides with those that attack our freedom and democracy.”
In a jointly published column in Le Monde, France’s leading news publication, Pedro Sanchez, Olaf Scholz and Antonio Costa appealed for a France that defends common European values.
The three leaders emphasized that the second round of the presidential election on April 24 “is not like any other election,” as the French face a critical choice “not just for France, but for all of Europe.”
Macron or Marine Le Pen — without naming either final candidate — they said the French have the “choice between a Democratic candidate who believes that a strong and autonomous EU will make France stronger, and a far-right candidate who openly sides with those who undermine our freedoms and our democracy, which stem from France’s Enlightenment.”
According to the leaders of Europe, President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine is an attempt to rewrite history and it is “targeting values that France and our countries defend: democracy, sovereignty, freedom, and the rule of law.” They said Putin was an ideological and political model for populists and the extreme right to justify nationalist demands even as they distance themselves from him..”
Macron accused Le Pen of relying on “Putin” due to her close ties to Moscow as well as for financing her party through a 9 million euro loan from a Czech-Russian bank. Le Pen has denied being friends with Putin or receiving financial favors from him.
As a result of her statements about rapprochement between Russia and NATO, the withdrawal of France from NATO, reducing France’s contribution to the EU, and overriding EU laws, world leaders are alarmed.
Macron, on the other hand, has made clear that France is stronger within the EU, supporting NATO militarily against Russia and seeking a peaceful solution to the Ukraine war. According to him, the French election is a referendum on (whether to remain in or leave) the EU.
“‘We need France by our side…a France that defends our common values, in a Europe which we recognize as ourselves, which is free and open to the world, sovereign, strong and generous at the same time,’ the three leaders stated, commending France’s leadership and solidarity with Europe during the COVID19 pandemic.
They referred to Macron’s project and his European leadership by saying: “This France is also on the April 24 ballot” and hoped “the French will vote for France.”