If this isn’t political shortsightedness, I don’t know what is: There are parties in Greece that are celebrating because French President Emmanuel Macron’s party did not win an absolute majority in last Sunday’s second round of legislative elections. And why are they celebrating? With the simplistic and selfish reasoning that since the alliance of Jean-Luc Melenchon (the so-called French Hugo Chavez), comprising left-wing and green parties, is rising in France, Greece’s left-wing parties, SYRIZA and MeRA25, will also benefit in the country’s next national elections.
What they seem to be missing is that Macron won the election. He won 245 seats (out of a total of 577), 15 more than the sum of the seats of the two largest opposition parties – Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally (89 seats) and Melenchon’s far-left NUPES alliance (142 seats). And it is an unrepresentative result – a product of unprecedented abstention, which exceeded 53%. If elections were held again now, it is very likely that Macron would confirm the polls that showed him the winner with an absolute majority. What citizen wants uncertainty and political instability?
What we should not forget, however, is that a less powerful Macron would undoubtedly impact negatively France’s quest for a more integrated Europe, with more solidarity and economic cohesion, while it would be a disaster for Greece. The rich European North is constantly pushing for greater fiscal discipline in the South. The only counterweight to Germany, Austria and the Netherlands is mainly France, which insists on some fiscal easing.
Moreover, in an unfavorable situation where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is constantly provoking and itching for a fight, the only country that openly expresses its solidarity with Greece is France. Not only has Athens signed a defense agreement with France that includes a mutual assistance clause, but it has also strengthened the Hellenic Armed Forces in record time with fourth-generation fighter aircraft. All this, at a time when Germany is building six “invisible” submarines for Turkey and Spain is handing over a mini-aircraft carrier to Erdogan.
Let’s also remember that Francois Hollande was the French president who pushed – on that famous night in July 2015, when then Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras had brought the country to the brink of the abyss – and overturned a decision of then German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble for Greece’s temporary exit from the euro. So, it seems some sides should restrain their personal agendas and political ambitions. A strong Macron is a big gain for Greece.