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international programs in the shadow of the war in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks by videoconference to parliamentarians at the National Assembly in Paris on March 23, 2022.

The war in Ukraine, which has come to hit the presidential campaign and conceals a number of debates, highlights a grid for reading the programs of the candidates on international issues. Among the more or less divisive subjects, their attitude towards Russia, NATO or the European Union (EU). Everyone agrees not to intervene in the conflict sparked by Vladimir Putin on February 24, even if the events mark the return of war to the heart of the European continent. Some, like Eric Zemmour, were slow to condemn the Russian invasion. But all of them want to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe in a country located at the gates of the EU and, above all, a conflict of even greater magnitude.

Most of the candidates advocate new sanctions against Russia even if some, like Marine Le Pen or Jean-Luc Mélenchon, doubt the impact of these measures

Most of the candidates advocate new sanctions against Russia, even if some, like Marine Le Pen or Jean-Luc Mélenchon, doubt the impact of these measures. Yannick Jadot and Anne Hidalgo recommend delivering more weapons to the Ukrainian authorities. Mr. Macron remains very discreet on the issue even if Paris is making arms deliveries presented as “defensive”.

See the comparator: Compare the programs of the main candidates

All are more or less in agreement that France should take “its part”, as Emmanuel Macron says, in welcoming the refugees who are arriving en masse, especially in the neighboring countries of Ukraine, starting with Poland. . While diverging elsewhere on migration issues, both seem to rediscover in passing the virtues of the right of asylum. With a few nuances: Eric Zemmour intends to limit access to those who “have ties in France”.

Less antagonism on European issues

Opinions diverge more sharply on the consequences to be drawn from the conflict in terms of defence. Several candidates, starting with the outgoing president, but also Marine Le Pen, Valérie Pécresse and Eric Zemmour want to increase the budget devoted to the army. Mr. Macron wants to increase it to 50 billion euros per year in 2025 (against 41 billion to date) and double the number of reservists. Mrs. Le Pen promises 55 billion in 2027. Like Yannick Jadot and Anne Hidalgo, others propose to learn the lessons of the conflict on the military level, but without advancing on the figures.

France’s role in NATO is another very divisive subject. For the sake of independence from the United States, several candidates are promising to leave the integrated command of the Atlantic Alliance. This is the case of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who wants to leave the organization in stages, Fabien Roussel, as well as Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour on the far right.

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