French citizens show little interest for EU issues and most of the 33 lists for the European elections call for a vote against Macron. The three weeks campaign might prove challenging.
The previous government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux is upset.
“Opposition parties are stealing an important election from the French. They do not talk about Europe and have as their only “common programme” to make European elections a referendum against the President of the Republic. They are fooling the French!” he said on RMC radio on 6 May.
The European elections campaign is finally starting in France with 33 lists having been officially introduced according to Interior ministry.
33 listes aux élections européennes. Je doute que les listes nationales contribuent au rassemblement nécessaire des députés qui représenteront les citoyens français désireux de construire une Europe qui prépare notre avenir et nous protège. L’influence appelle à l’union solidaire— Jean Arthuis (@JeanArthuis) May 4, 2019
Most of the lists are quite extreme: far-left, far-right and Yellow vests’ lists are a majority. A lot of those won’t even manage to print enough ballot papers to be represented, but they still blur the global picture. And they contribute to having voters totally mixed up.
(In France parties have to print ballot papers themselves.)
The Great national debate has been focusing on national issues
According to Frederic Dabi from Ifop Institute, 55% of voters plan to vote about national issues. “There is a nationalisation of issues at stake. The issue of the French-German tandem, or EU enlargement, or the eurozone, or EU institutions, rank at the very end of citizen’s worries. Most of them say they care about unemployment, education or terrorism” he said.
This is quite logical considering the government has spent the last 4 months focused on the Great National Debate, underlining only national issues.
The Renaissance list strategy is to have a “flash campaign” from now on until 24 May – the campaign is under the obligation to stop 24 hours before the election. It’s a real poker bet. The party is so late it hasn’t even presented its political programme yet.
In France, the best time to speak about Europe is… never
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