Road to EU 2024

European Elections: A Particularly Harsh First Televised Debate Between Valérie Hayer and Jordan Bardella

May 2024
By Eleonore Para

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The first debate between the candidate of the presidential majority, Valérie Hayer, and the lead candidate of the National Rally, Jordan Bardella, was held yesterday, Thursday, May 2, for over two hours, live on BFM TV.

The challenge for Valérie Hayer: to make herself known in the media and to convince voters of the presidential majority. For Jordan Bardella, who participated in his first televised debate yesterday, the aim was to consolidate his position: polling at 30% of voting intentions in recent surveys, compared to 17% for Valérie Hayer.

In his opening remarks, Jordan Bardella was sharp, stating that “the European Union is destroying Europe” and calling for “sanctions against Macron’s Europe.”

The first question from the presenter, asking each to assign a quality and a flaw to their opponent, helped to clarify the intentions of both candidates. Valérie Hayer denounced what she considers the deceit of the National Rally’s European program: Jordan Bardella’s flaw being “duplicity,” and his quality, “the audacity to pronounce so many lies with such composure.” Jordan Bardella, on his part, praised the “courage” of his opponent who represents Emmanuel Macron’s record and has agreed to run as a candidate.

The subjects discussed were not all European: youth violence, actions on French campuses supporting the Palestinian people, and antisemitism dominated the first part of the debate.

On the issue of French purchasing power, related to European policy, Jordan Bardella expressed support for taxing the “super-profits” of some food industrialists and energy companies. Valérie Hayer committed to opening a debate on extraordinary super-profits.

Regarding the agricultural crisis: Jordan Bardella criticized Valérie Hayer on Emmanuel Macron’s record, which has “put thousands of farmers in the streets of the country.” According to him, free trade agreements “respect none of the standards imposed on our farmers,” creating “unfair competition.” Valérie Hayer, for her part, highlighted the battle for the CAP budget, allowing 10 billion euros of aid per year to French farmers.

On immigration: Valérie Hayer defended the pact voted at the beginning of April by the European Parliament, which aims to redefine the migrant reception policy within the European Union. Jordan Bardella detailed several measures of the National Rally, mentioning the restriction of free movement within the Schengen Area “only to EU nationals.” He also believed that “asylum applications should be handled at embassies and consulates of departure, not from within the administration in France.”