Political analyst: President Macron’s victory is great news for Europe and the Czech Republic

Emmanuel Macron

Czech politicians have welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron’s election victory over his far-right rival, Marine Le Pen, hailing it as good news for Europe and a signal of stability in turbulent times. I spoke to Zuzana Šimek from the Prague-based Association for International Affairs about the implications of this victory and what it may mean for Czech-French relations.

“Macron’s victory in the presidential elections is very good news for Europe –for the European Union, but also for the Czech Republic. Emmanuel Macron is a pro-European head of state, we could see his pro-active approach recently when he was involved in searching for a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine. He has shown himself to be a constructive partner, not just when negotiating about the situation in Ukraine but at the European level, when debating issues such as climate change or he energy crisis.”

To what do you attribute the extremely high support for Le Pen in these elections? Is this a warning signal regarding the mood of French voters?

Emmanuel Macron,  Marine Le Pen | Photo: Ludovic Marin,  ČTK/AP

“I think that Ms. Le Pen learnt her lesson from the previous election in 2017. This time she managed to gather the votes of all the dissatisfied voters who are fed up with President Macron and his reforms. She promised not only significant economic reforms but also restrictions towards immigrants and all these program priorities are aimed at improving the living standard of those French voters who are suffering from the economic and social crisis caused by the Covid pandemic and also now the situation in Ukraine.”

What are the reactions to President Macron’s victory here in the Czech Republic?   Is it perceived as good news for the Czech Republic?

“I would say it is great news. Last night, soon after the result was announced, Prime Minister Petr Fiala congratulated Mr. Macron on his reelection and expressed his interest in further developing Czech-French relations; a similar message came from Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky. So for sure this is very good news for the future of Czech-French relations, especially in light of the fact that the French presidency of the European Council will be followed by the Czech presidency, which will provide a great impetus for developing and deepening our bilateral relationship.”

Zuzana Šimek | Photo: Association for International Affairs

What is the state of Czech-French relations under President Macron? Are the two countries making full use of the potential that is there?

“I think we could make better use of the potential and cooperate more closely and we will see whether President Macron’s reelection will help to take the relationship further. Our bilateral relations are built on the domains of nuclear energy, defense, cultural education and science and nuclear energy has the potential to become a key element of our bilateral relations in view of the present international situation.”