Thursday, May 26, 2022
HomeEconomicsLeftist Mélenchon as French PM Would Shake Europe – Renaud Lambert

Leftist Mélenchon as French PM Would Shake Europe – Renaud Lambert


Paul Jay

Hi, I’m Paul Jay. Welcome to theAnalysis.news. In a few seconds, I’m going to be joined by Renaud Lambert from Le Monde Diplomatique to talk about the state of the French elections. Please don’t forget there’s a donate button, subscribe button, and most importantly, come to the website and join our email list. Back in a few seconds. So I’m now joined by Renaud Lambert. He is a deputy editor of Le Monde Diplomatique in Paris. We’re going to talk about the French elections. Thanks very much for joining me, Renaud.

So Renaud, tell us who is [Jean-Luc] Mélenchon and just how significant is this unity of the Left? Where is he at with unifying the Left?

Renaud Lambert

Okay, well, Mélenchon is a former member of the Socialist Party in France. He was even a Minister in the late 1990s under the [Lionel] Jospin government that was the so-called plural Left, but that was fair and neoliberal in terms of the economics. Mélenchon is an admirer of François Mitterrand, but he was trained as a Trotskyist, in a very serious Trotskyist organization.

Paul Jay

For people who don’t know what that means, and I’m not entirely sure what I know what it means because I think there are about 105 variations of Trotskyist organizations. What did that mean in terms of his background?

Renaud Lambert

That means that he is very well trained. Now, obviously, Trotskyists go in very different directions in France. We have plenty of former members of Trotskyist organizations that have gone to the Right or that have pulled the Socialist Party to the right, but generally, they are very well-trained people. They know what it is to sit down and talk about strategy and tactics and to organize a program. His life is about politics. He started politics when he was 16. So like I said, he was a member of the Socialist Party and he left the Socialist Party after a big vote that took place in France regarding the European Union. We were basically entering into the Constitution that the European Union was going to be a neoliberal organization, market-oriented. [Jean-Luc] Mélenchon was against that. So he went on to create a Left party that was its name, Parti de Gauche. And from then on, he’s built up pace and a position in the Left in France. And he was at the helm of a reconstruction of the left in France.

He was a three-time presidential candidate, first of all with an alliance with the Communist Party and this time without an alliance. Basically, if you fast forward, he’s been an active tool of the displacement of the Left from what was the Socialist Party initially to now a certain level of hegemony for Mélenchon’s organization in France.

Paul Jay

For viewers, especially in the U.S. but in Canada too, when they hear he was in alliance with the Communist Party, they’re not sure what to make of that because most of Europe did not go through McCarthyism and House of un-American Activities Committee, which in fact Canada did, which is another story. There’s an interesting book called The Uncanadians about that. So the Communist Party in France and much of Europe is pretty much a social Democratic party of sorts itself. Is that right? And it’s part of the mainstream politics in one way or the other?

Renaud Lambert

Absolutely. The Communist Party today would be to the right of Mélenchon, definitely. But when you talk about the alliance with the Communist Party, you’re talking about the fact that it is connecting with a part of the Left that was itself displaced by a former alliance that took place in the 1970s between [François] Mitterrand, who was the first left-wing President in France, elected in 1981. But before that, he got into an alliance with the Communist Party. And before that alliance, the Communist Party was a dominant party in France. It could count on 25% of votes during presidential elections after the Second World War, and it had very dedicated militants or members all across the countryside, people who go out and canvas.

But slowly after that alliance with the Socialist Party, the Communist Party got displaced and reduced to accounting for very little. But Mélenchon decided to reconnect with them. First of all, because their past is pretty glorious in France. They push for very good politics. So that was a way of saying we’re going to align with you, we’re not trying to replace you. And second of all, at that time, the idea was to have alliance between parties.

That was a strategic choice. Now, Mélenchon was moved from that alliance between parties to something that is more a movement. Now that is a very effective tool in order to create large coalitions because people can come with their own priorities and add them on, as long as they’re not contradictory, add them on to the general platform and that’s what happened. It was very successful in that way. Now, obviously, that raises questions once you’re in power, because if you ally between parties, if you work within a party, then you have Congress’s, general discussions within these organizations that allow you to organize your priorities. When you function on the basis of a movement, then everybody probably thinks that their priority is going to be prioritary, but it cannot function like this. On the one hand, it’s a very effective tool in order to gain space during elections. Now, in terms of actually governing and implementing your measures, it’s a different ball game.

Paul Jay

Okay, well, let’s break down a bit just to give a little bit of context here. In the presidential election, Mélenchon came in third, but only a very small amount behind Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate, although the way politics is moving far-right is mainstream now in many countries, including France, the next set of elections in June for the National Assembly and while the President, in theory gets to select the Prime Minister, in fact, it’s the Parliament, the National Assembly, that really gets to pick if they don’t agree with what the President’s going to do. In theory, whatever party has the majority of seats should be able to pick the Prime Minister. So that’s what this next election is about. So he did very well in the presidential election. He almost came in second and would have been in the runoff. So what is the significance of these allies he has picked up electorally? He’s now allied with the Green Party, with the Socialist and the Communist. How much vote does that represent?

Renaud Lambert

Well, he came very close and to give viewers an idea, he got over 7 million votes and Mélenchon just about made it to the second round. He was lacking only 400,000 votes out of the total that he got of over 7 million. So it was a very successful presidential campaign for Mélenchon. Now there were calls before the presidential election to unite the Left. Of course, everybody in the Left wants the Left to win. But the phenomenon that you’ve been seeing is a slow displacement of traditional left-wing parties. Like I was saying, the Socialist Party still claimed before the presidential election to be a major Left party and said well Mélenchon, you need to talk with us and we need to come up with the platform. Mélenchon said no and he was reproached with that because people say oh, you’re not a Democrat, you don’t want to talk with people, you don’t want to ally. And he said no, I just want to put on my program. Our programs are not compatible. So let people decide. And that happened.

Paul Jay

And there in fact was a substantial difference in the program between Mélenchon and the Socialist Party.

Renaud Lambert

Absolutely. The Socialist Party at that stage was still and will come to a major rift that has taken place since. The Socialist Party was definitely a neoliberal party at that stage. And to give viewers an idea and have and have I think Mélenchon was right in that strategy not to align before the presidential election Mélenchon got almost 22% of the votes. Then came the Green Party wanted to ally as well and they got under 5%. The Socialist Party got 1.74%. So that party that claimed to be a cornerstone up the Left got below 2%.

Now once all that happened and Mélenchon could claim to embody what people wanted, some form of opposition to [Emmanuel] Macron and his business-friendly politics and obviously trying to resist the rise of the far-right. Then on that basis of who weighs what it was possible to talk about, what do we want to do? So on the 2nd of May, Mélenchon got into an agreement with the Greens. Now the major difference with the Green Party was the relationship to Europe. Mélenchon always said that some of the policies he wants to implement and some of them are very radical in the context of a neoliberal European Union. Some of these policies could not be implemented because the European Union prevents them, it rules them out.

Paul Jay

And let me just remind viewers that European Union to a large extent is the Union of European bankers and finance. Much of the — not all and there’s some progressive stuff comes out of the EU, but a lot of the economic policy, the EU is driven by bankers and particularly German bankers.

Renaud Lambert

Yes. For instance, one of the main issues at stake during the presidential election was the pension reform, and that directly comes from the European Union. Now, right-wing governments get into a kind of implicit agreement with the European Union because when they want to push through a very bad reform, they’ll say, oh, it’s the European Union. We have no choice. Obviously, we are sweet as pie, we wouldn’t want to do that. But the European Union definitely has its own agenda. It’s a free-trade, business-friendly organization. So say if you want to make sure that next time there is a pandemic and it might happen, France is in a position to produce a vaccine, then you need to spend money in order to kick start an industry that’s been obliterated by the market, that the European Union prevents you from doing this.

Paul Jay

And one of the big issues I know, it was in Greece, and I believe it’s also in France is the age of retirement. The EU bankers want the age of retirement to be high, not lower, and people want it lower with more money.

Renaud Lambert

Absolutely. In France, Macron calls himself the extreme center, as opposed to the far-left and the far-right, he would be the far-center, but he’s been rebranded the far-market because it’s just plain market all the way. But what he wants is the retirement age, the minimum age you can retire to move up from 62 years of age to 65. Now, people should know that in France, working-class people, their life expectancy in good health conditions is 65. So what basically Macron is saying to the working-class employees is you will not get a good health retirement and people are adamant they don’t want this.

So let me get back to the agreement with the Greens. The Greens have always been very pro-EU. They are still thinking that it is possible to change the EU from inside. And that’s been at loggerheads for years. But they came to an agreement saying that we will implement our program and the EU says we can’t, we will disobey, and they managed to agree on this. It’s been very close to Mélenchon’s position for the last presidential election. But anyway, they came to an agreement. With the Communist Party, they came to an agreement the following day. And one of the main issues that they had with the Communist Party was the fact that the Communist Party is pro-nuclear and they don’t show is against it. And what they did there is to say —

Paul Jay

Now by nuclear, you mean nuclear energy?

Renaud Lambert

Absolutely, yes. Nuclear energy. Absolutely. What they say is that the alliance is going to be an alliance where members of Parliament unite for big policies, but they all will retain the right to have their own group inside the Parliament, and the Communist Party will be able to push for the development of new nuclear plants. So disagreements are allowed. And the following day they came to an agreement with the Socialist Party and that was very interesting because it’s been a very busy week at the Socialist Party. Basically what happened is the former heads of the party were all saying, well, if you go into an agreement with Mélenchon, I’m out. And basically what the party said was, go away. And so you have all these elephants, former big figures in the Socialist Party who are not orphans because they’ve been pulling the Socialist Party so far to the Right, some of them actually taking part in Macron’s government, the current President, neoliberal President, they’ve been pulling so hard the Right, it’s torn. The head of the party was speaking yesterday at a convention for that new alliance, and he had very strong words against his former comrades, very strong words.

So it was, adamant, that the Socialist Party needed to go back to a form of radicality that it used to have, and it definitely used to have in France. So that’s the context. You have this alliance against pushing for a platform that is very progressive. It’s the most progressive that we’ve seen.

Paul Jay

What are some examples of that platform? I know lowering the age of pension is one. To what extent is public ownership part of the program?

Renaud Lambert

It’s a very strong part of the program to be able to nationalize industries in order to be able to invest in them. They promise to raise the minimum wage to make sure that wages are revised upwards, which is something that is inscribed in the law but never put into place. They want to cap prices for essential products in the context, that of inflation. They want to revise the laws that organize the workplace. Now, these have been attacked massively by Macron and the previous President, who was a Socialist, but he’s been very critical of the new alliance. They want to invest in culture, invest in schools. Schools have been attacked, under a massive attack by Macron. And the environment is going to be a major cornerstone of the program. They want to assess all the measures that will be implemented against the ecology priority. For instance, water, which is already running scarce in France. We’re only in the month of May, and some localities are saving water, preventing people from using them the normal way and that would only happen in August normally. It’s happening now.

Paul Jay

France has a very major oil company, Total. What is the program in terms of phasing out fossil fuel and transitioning to sustainable energy?

Renaud Lambert

Well, there’s a massive program to invest in wind turbines and all of that. Now that platform has been assessed and independently assessed to be the furthest any party went in terms of the environment, that program and the one defended by the Greens, it’s going very far. But Mélenchon always talked about the transition. And I think it’s a key issue because obviously, we all know that it’s going to take transitioning, and the transition is going to be tricky. We are all used to using a lot of energy and everybody wants their beer to be fresh, but at the same time, they want to protect the environment. So it’s going to take some discussion.

Now, the discussion is going to take Mélenchon to become Prime Minister, we’re going to have a lot of discussions with the European Union. And in the context where the ECB [European Central Bank], the central bank in Europe, has announced that it was going to reduce its policy of purchasing assets or basically quantitative easing. That means in coming days vocabulary. That means that tensions on the Euro, the currency we use over here, is going to build up and we could see the start of a new debt crisis.

Renaud Lambert

If Mélenchon was Prime Minister, that would be very interesting to observe, because definitely, you would have a dissident voice and at that time with all due respect to the Greeks, it would not be a country the size and the weight of Greece. We tried to go into a resistance in the year 2015 it would be France, one of the two key countries in the European Union at the moment.

Paul Jay

And there’s a lot of sentiment in France, which is unsympathetic to the EU because a lot of Marine Le Pen’s vote on the far-right was also an anti-EU vote.

Renaud Lambert

I mean, the crisis in Greece has left wounds, massive wounds. The story used to be that Europe is freedom and prosperity and peace and we saw what kind of prosperity the EU was thinking of for the Greeks who were compelled to slash budgets, where poverty shot up. We saw what kind of war was waged against that population just because they wanted wages to be paid, they wanted to be able to have a health system. So people have seen this and people have heard when they’ve been told, well, we have to raise the retirement age because the EU demands it.

Plus, with the business in Ukraine at the moment, the war in Ukraine, the European Union has taken it upon itself to close TV channels because they were said to be too close to Russia. In France, for instance, we have billionaires on most of the publications, and the media, and that raises no issue whatsoever. So, yeah, there is definitely an anti-EU sentiment. I would say that during the presidential candidate, all this was cautioned by the fact that the ECB was purchasing so much on the markets that the tension as far as debt was concerned, was smothered. Once it reduces that program, I think we might see this crisis rise again.

Paul Jay

And does the Russian invasion of Ukraine help Macron? He tried to position himself as sort of the person who could help negotiate an end to the war. Now there’s been a great strengthening of NATO [The North Atlantic Treaty Organization]. Sweden and Finland are talking about joining NATO. Germany is going to increase its budget, as are some other EU countries, are going to really increase their militarization. Does this affect these elections for National Assembly?

Renaud Lambert

For the National Assembly, I would say not so much. For the presidential elections, Macron did indeed try and present himself as the President that could not be campaigning because there was urgent business to be dealt with. I don’t think that served him so much because he was so discreet. People have been resenting this. Now, on the other hand, some media have attempted to reproach Mélenchon with what was deemed to be a positive attitude to [Vladimir] Putin. I think that was an unfair accusation. What Mélenchon has been talking about is the problem raised by NATO. You can criticize NATO without being a Putin ally. I think 2 hours after Putin invaded Ukraine, Mélenchon had a Press release. I think he was one of the first presidential candidates to totally condemn the invasion. So at the moment, what people are concerned about is bread and butter issues and pensions, for instance. Ukraine is not that present.

Paul Jay

So with these elections really only a matter of weeks away now, what is it, about a month? To what extent is the competition against Mélenchon and to what extent is it about trying to get some of the working-class votes that went for Marine Le Pen? If I understand it correctly, she was stronger in the countryside, which is in rural France, which is why she came a little bit ahead. Are they going to be able to eat into some of that vote?

Renaud Lambert

She was stronger in some of the countryside where there was always been a traditional right-wing vote. The rest of the countryside either voted for Mélenchonor or didn’t vote. Abstention like not voting would be the main attitude. The key will be participation to the elections. To give you an idea, 28% of the population did not turn up to vote during the presidential election. This time in 2022, during the last National Assembly elections, below 50% of the population turned out to vote under 50%. People just didn’t care.

You have to remember that, I can’t remember now, I should have checked this, but it’s only recently that National Assembly elections were organized just after the presidential election. The idea was to ensure that the President would have a National Assembly that he would master. It’s kind of ironic that the system is in such a bad way that what was supposed to give all the cards to one man, it’s turning out to perhaps prevent Macron to be able to implement his policies.

Paul Jay

Well, actually that was my next question. For the sake of argument, let’s say Mélenchon’s party and the United Left Front actually wins the majority of the National Assembly. Mélenchon is the Prime Minister who has the power between the President to the Prime Minister?

Renaud Lambert

Well, there’s nothing automatic about Macron naming Mélenchon Prime Minister. It would be very, I think, unwise for him not to follow what has been a tradition up to now. We’ve had what is called cohabitation. That means you have a President, in one political party and a Prime Minister in a very different one. So all presidents have accepted results that came from National Assembly elections and decided to name a Prime Minister from the majority party or group. So I hope and I think Macron would follow that tradition. So say if he did like you’re suggesting, it’s going to be a form of power-sharing, but in France, the President is first and foremost in charge of foreign policy and defence, but all the politics is implemented by the government, and the Prime Minister can do a lot. Mélenchon has been very clear. All the policies that I’ve been describing, he’s in a position to implement them.

Paul Jay

Who controls the money? Isn’t it the National Assembly?

Renaud Lambert

No, it would be the Ministry. So he can organize decrees. That means that he doesn’t have to go to the National Assembly. If he has a majority, he can get the National Assembly to vote —

Paul Jay

No, I mean, in terms of relationship to the President. If the Prime Minister’s party controls the National Assembly, do they control the money?

Renaud Lambert

Oh, yeah, they control the money. They have their own economic Minister. Mélenchon will be naming that person. So yeah, absolutely.

Paul Jay

Now, if Macron doesn’t want to appoint Mélenchon and Mélenchon’s party does control the National Assembly, can’t the National Assembly appoint Mélenchon Prime Minister anyway. They don’t need Macron.

Renaud Lambert

No. Only the President can name the Prime Minister.

Paul Jay

Okay, because there’s reporting in some of the American press the other way. So that’s wrong. The National Assembly cannot overrule the President on this.

Renaud Lambert

Well, I’m not a Constitution expert, but as far as I’m concerned it’s a prerogative of the President to name the Prime Minister. We would go down a very serious constitutional crisis if Macron decided to go against this. I mean, the next government that would be elected, because the person who he would name to form a government would have no legitimacy. So I want to believe that Macron will do it and that there is no option for him but to do this.

Paul Jay

Now, Marine Le Pen, the far-right party did very well, the best it’s ever done I think, in a presidential election, are they going to be a serious factor in the National Assembly election?

Renaud Lambert

National assembly elections are quite tricky in France because you have a first round. Now, you might get someone elected during the first round, but you can have up to three candidates for the second round. So that makes it very difficult to know how votes will split in what direction, and projections are complicated.

Now, what was interesting was that the French presidential election was characterized by the fact that you had two very right-wing candidates, Macron, obviously, and Valérie Pécresse, the traditional conservative candidate and yet three far-right candidates. Now two got very strong results, Marine Le Pen and Éric Zemmour got something like 7%. Now Zemmour and Le Pen didn’t come to an agreement and he will have his own candidates in some areas. So that’s a bonus for the left, obviously, because it’s got to thin out the far-right vote. But the arithmetic for National Assembly elections is a very tricky one.

We had been talking about a week ago about all this, the possibility of Mélenchon making it to the Prime Minister position, as far as I was concerned, was very limited. I must say that I’m looking at this in a very different way now. The agreements that have taken place, very few people thought would be even imaginable a week ago, and not only what they imagined, but they actually happened.

Paul Jay

Now, when Bernie Sanders looked like he had a real chance of winning the Democratic Party nomination for President, the American elites went nuts and tons of money went to Hillary Clinton, and the media certainly tried to isolate and diminish Sanders, and there was a real closing of the ranks. Is that happening in France? If Mélenchon really has a chance to be Prime Minister, one would think the French elites are going to go nuts or already have.

Renaud Lambert

They are. They are going absolutely nuts you know, and the spearhead for this was the right-wing element in the Socialist Party. It’s very interesting that the way that panned out, that is that they are outside. You have a former Prime Minister from the Socialist Party who is now a candidate for the National Assembly for Macron, a very despicable man who actually wasn’t in alliance with the far-right in Spain when he travelled over there, his name is Manuel Valls. These days he’s saying that his main enemy, his adversary in France at the moment, it’s not the far-right, it’s Mélenchon. I mean, that level of aggression is terrible. And the media are full of stories that Mélenchon could never manage these agreements, now he’s managed them, but he could never become Prime Minister, or if he’s Prime Minister, he will never be able to implement his policies. A lot of nightmare scenarios, but there’s always something quite exciting, seeing the mainstream media panic. It suggests that something is happening and they are panicking.

Paul Jay

In the United States, the billionaire class has an activist section and with their money have a lot to say and influence the outcome of elections. Is it the same in France? Are there any spending limits? Does billionaire money have a big role to play?

Renaud Lambert

We don’t have the funding system that people have in the United States, Luckily. But the way they do try and influence the discussion is through the media. The main economic news diary in France is owned by the richest man in France, and the second-largest general diary is owned by not a billionaire. They’re everywhere and they’re known to intervene in the way stories are covered.

Now during the campaign, there’s only a certain element of things they can do. I think the picture I’m painting needs to be counterbalanced by another picture, which would be if Mélenchon actually makes it to the position of Prime Minister and he starts enrolling his program and implementing it. The level of aggression there is going to be terrible. I mean, we’re going to have capital ad-flow and we are not allowed to impose capital control under EU regulation. So the economy is going to go it’s going to go into a crisis. The interest rates that investors require to purchase French assets, they are going to shoot up. That’s going to put pressure on the economy. The media is going to be full of stories about the way Mélenchon is racking the economy.

I like to remind people I talk to of this story. When [François] Mitterrand was first elected and back then, he was left-wing. The fiscal deficit reached 3.2% when the media said, well, that socialist experiment has got to stop. This is impossible. Now you fast forward to the crisis in Ireland after the subprime chaos. The fiscal deficit, reached 32% of GDP, 32%. And what the media said, well, we have to implement more neoliberal reforms. So the media is always, as you know, in a position to spin whatever the reality is, 3% deficit for the Left is just terrible. But when the neoliberal are in Paris, a 32% deficit is just an invitation to go even further. So we’re going to have a lot of this and we don’t have media to counterbalance that narrative that they’re going to impose on the population. And some people might get really scared. Now if the level of resistance we encounter in the European Union is really strong, the coalition might be finding it hard to stay together because they have come to an agreement between parties.

If Mélenchon starts to implement his program, when things start to become tenser with the European Union, then the question of people’s desire to stay within the European Union is going to be an issue. Some people do want Mélenchon and that Coalition’s program to be implemented but with the hope that the European Union would accept a certain level of variation to the script that it tries to impose on all the European capitals. Now I wonder whether they will accept this. And if we come to a crisis with the European Union, what level of support will that coalition in power receive in the streets? We have people take to the streets to say no, we do want to cap the retirement age at 60. And that’s a big question.

Paul Jay

I asked my friend who lives in Paris what she thought of Mélenchon and her answer was, of course, I would vote for him against Macron, but I didn’t like his attitude towards Europe. I liked being part of Europe and she would have voted, I guess, Green or something. But how does he overcome that feeling amongst a lot of progressive people? But they want to be part of Europe, they don’t want to get out.

Renaud Lambert

Well, what he says, he was talking about this today, actually. He says, well, what we want is democracy and we’re sure that Europe wants democracy as well. So if the people vote for a program, the democracy demands that we implement that program. Then if the European Union is making a fuss, then it’s going to teach everybody a lesson. Now you have to remember what happened in Greece. So in Greece in early 2015, [Alexis] Tsipras, left-wing, was elected in order to renegotiate a memorandum of understanding, with the so-called troika, that was the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the IMF [International Monetary Fund]. People in Greece, they wanted to stay within Europe. They didn’t want to leave, but they didn’t want that austerity imposed on them. And over six months Tsipras tried to negotiate with the so-called partners and saw that what he had in front of him was a bulldozer adamant that they’re going to crush the aspiration of the Greek people to review that austerity. And when Tsipras organized a referendum in July 2015 and asked people, do you want to scrap the memorandum of understanding, that means do you want to do away with austerity, implied, even if that means we’re going to be kicked out of the Eurozone, people voted yes, we do want to do away with austerity.

Six months was the time it took for people to understand what I think the European Union is about containing democracy. So I think for your friend, it would be interesting to see if she did vote for someone like Mélenchon, she was allowed to vote in France. What would she make of the way the European Union is reacting to his attempt at implementing measures that have been democratically voted? And how would that opinion evolve in the course of six months?

Paul Jay

As you said earlier, and I would say not just one could one should denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine and denounce the eastward expansion of NATO. I’m a dual citizen, so as a U.S. citizen and a Canadian citizen. I would like to see the end of NATO completely. That said, what is the attitude in France? How much is the issue of NATO an issue?

Renaud Lambert

Well, in the context of the alliance that has been formed. In the run-up to the National Assembly elections, NATO was a point where no agreement was reached. So Mélenchon wanted France to leave the integrated command system for NATO and to develop a neutral position. The way Ireland has a neutral position, that means you’re not bound by treaties. You can basically have your own defence policies. But other parties like the Socialist Party, and the Green Party, would not want to leave NATO. So that question has been left aside. When he talks about it because obviously, people say, well, the President is in charge of defence but the Prime Minister is in charge of security in the country and we do want France to be able to have a United position in the context of a war that might very well go nuclear.

Paul Jay

Well, if it goes nuclear they don’t have to worry about what the position is.

Renaud Lambert

You’re right. Mélenchon has been stressing the fact that he would make sure that there isn’t a slight difference between his position and Macron’s. As a matter of fact, Macron has not been doing too bad on that issue. He has been trying to talk with the Russians and to organize discussions that obviously some of the belligerents are not interested in at the moment. I think it could work.

Paul Jay

Okay. Well, thanks very much and let’s do this again as we get closer to the election, maybe a few days before the vote and then we’ll talk about it after the vote. Thanks very much, Renaud.

Renaud Lambert

Thank you for having me.

Paul Jay

And thank you for joining us on theAnalysis.news. Please don’t forget the donate button, the subscribe button and join our email list and thanks again.

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