The candidates for the presidency of France, the current president and socio-liberal, Emmanuel Macron, and the far-right, Marine Le Pen, have staged this Wednesday a election debate tense and full of accusations a few days from the second round of the French presidential elections.
In its only debate before the second round of the elections this Sunday, the candidates have collided on their proposals to defend purchasing power of the French as well as in their vision of the European Union and the retirement age.
Le Pen has taken the opportunity to reassure voters that is ready to be the next president of France. “I will make it my top priority for the next five years to be give the French their money back“, has indicated the candidate of the National Association, who has promised to increase the household net income at an average of 150 to 200 euros per month.
For his part, one of the harshest accusations that Macron has made to his rival has been to say that Le Pen depends “on Russian power and Mr. Putin” for having asked for a loan from a Russian bacchus. The socioliberal candidate has also recalled that the far-right candidate was “one of the first European politicians to recognize the annexation of Crimea” by Russia in 2014.
The debate this Wednesday has been decisive for elections in which candidates are challenged to conquer the undecided and those voters who they chose in the first round the other ten options who fell by the wayside. vote of the party of the radical left France Insumisa, directed by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, is the most coveted by Macron and Le Pen, since it was the third most voted option in the first round, with 21.95%. According to an internal consultation, about 67% of the supporters of Mélenchon’s party affirm that they will vote blank or null or will abstain in the second round.
Macron points to a “dependency” of the Russian National Grouping
In the duel between the two presidential candidates, Macron has accused his opponent of depending on the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and on a Russian bank that granted in 2015 a loan to his party that has not yet been repaid. “You were one of the first European politicians to recognize the annexation of Crimea in 2014,” said Macron, who recalled that “in international law, since the Second World War, rarely recognizes territories that have been forcibly annexed“. “Why did you do it? I’m serious because it depends on Russian power and it depends on Mr. Putin“, has added.
Faced with these accusations, Le Pen has responded that “Mr. Macron has access to all the information from French intelligence and he knows very well that what he is saying is false“. The National Grouping candidate has also criticized Macron receiving the Russian president in Versailles at the beginning of his term and has recalled a message that she posted on her Twitter account defending a “free Ukraine”.
Macron has also defended his strategy to respond to the war in Ukraine with economic sanctions on Russia, as well as financial support and the sending of equipment to Ukraine to defend itself against the Russian offensive. The current French president has pointed out that the response must be European, although he has also highlighted the importance of talking with China and the Gulf countries.
For her part, Le Pen has expressed her “solidarity to the Ukrainian people” and has applauded the efforts made by Macron. He has also defended offer humanitarian, financial and defensive material aid to Ukraine, but he has indicated that the only sanction imposed against Moscow with which he does not agree is the blocking the import of Russian oil and gas. “It is not a good method. It will not harm Russia and it will do a lot of damage to the French people,” he asserted.
Differences over the European Union
Regarding support for the European Union, Macron has pointed out that believes “in Europe and in the Franco-German relationship” and highlighted European health policy during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as progress in building a European defense. “I’m convinced that our sovereignty is national and european and that the two complement each other. Through Europe we will be more dependent”, indicated the current French president, who added that “We need a stronger and more integrated Europe.”
Macron has also considered that Le Pen’s project, like five years ago, would mean France’s exit from the European Union and has accused his opponent of wanting to get the country out of the euro “without saying so”. Le Pen has denied that he wants the country to leave the blocbut has defended that the European Union be modified “to effectively achieve a European Alliance of Nations”.
The far-right candidate has accused the European Commission of interfere in the national decisions of its members and the “multiplication of international free trade treaties signed to allow the sale of German cars at the sacrifice of our farmers”.
In addition, Le Pen has responded to Macron saying that “the European sovereignty does not exist because there is no European citizenship” and has pointed out that what the socioliberal candidate wants is “replace French sovereignty with European and, for this reason, it puts the European flag under the Arc de Triomphe”.