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In France, the best time to speak about Europe is… never

Between the Great national debate and the Notre Dame blaze, the EU elections campaign has not started yet.

François Bayrou, a close ally to Emmanuel Macron, said on Wednesday (17 April) on BFM TV that “next week would be the time to speak about the Great National Debate”. The discussion was supposed to happen around mid-April, but the Notre Dame fire disturbed Macron’s plans.

It also postponed a debate that could have been interesting: the one between Frans Timmermans and Manfred Weber, the two Spitzenkandidaten of the socialists and the EPP. The broadcasting on France 24 was delayed, and the debate happened without attracting much interest as Macron was speaking on TV at the same time.

So  the last week of of April will be all national issues – a bit like the 51 other weeks of the year.

There might be a slight problem in this planning: the European election campaign is yet to start in France.

But this will not happen before the 1st of May. This will leave just two weeks for the campaign, as a lot of activities including opinion polls are supposed to stop before the election date.

It’s a bit short considering the number of issues at stake: Brexit, migration, climate, social issues, security, trade, agriculture. Trying to rise awareness rise on those subjects will be a difficult challenge.

Maybe better this way, because social unrest and political tensions tend to turn any debate in a village fight.

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