French Elections: Macron Reloaded

France’s Relations with Russia Will Have Consequences for the Eastern Flank

27 April 2022

Radu Albu-Comănescu

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Emmanuel Marcon’s Russophilia has given Moscow many chances to come back into the European fold and reflects the contemporary and historical French attitude, but it could force NATO’s Eastern Flank and Scandanavia to turn towards London and Washington for security reassurances. Yet, there are areas of compromise which can make the European project ever stronger if we can move beyond the double standards and embrace a more mutual responsibility for the future. 

It might be that Lord Acton was right (‘power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely’), but allow me to add: it also transforms, and absolute, radical power does so absolutely. This past week’s French elections demonstrated it like never before.

Putin’s personal power regime transformed Russia and impacted Europe, and while we condemn the aggressive tactics of Moscow, a similar transformation is occurring in France as it would for any candidate reaching the top job in one of Europe’s core nations.

The Russian Ghost

The French elections included an outstanding external presence: Russia. It revolved around the relationship the Hexagon and the EU should entertain with something that can be only described as a profoundly unsettled, unadapted, corrupt, aggressive and decomposing political regime. Needless to insist on how and why the old tropes of 1960s Gaullism, with a few variables, explain Moscow’s cardinal presence on the charts of France’s foreign policy; the zeal put in it is remarkable, yet the degree of inexactitude in this judgement does not seem to strike either the left or right circles of power in Paris.


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Radu Albu-Comănescu

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Lecturer in European Integration at the “Babeş-Bolyai” University of Cluj-Napoca, Romania. His research focuses on European construction, state-building, international relations and cultural diplomacy.


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