Politics & Economics

Legislative elections in France: what do the programmes of the three coalitions have to say about Europe and foreign policy?

June 2024
By Eleonore Para

With just a few days to go before the first round of early parliamentary elections – the French are due to go to the polls to elect their MPs on 30 June and 7 July – and as a new term of office begins in the European Parliament, the programmes of Ensemble – the presidential majority – the Rassemblement National and the new Front Populaire contain proposals on Europe and foreign policy. Here’s a quick overview of these proposals.

The Ensemble pour la République coalition (Renaissance, Horizons, the MoDem, the UDI and the Parti Radical) has presented a programme, the section of which devoted to Europe essentially refers to the reform of the right of asylum recently passed by the European Parliament, and promises that detention centres will soon be opened at Europe’s external borders to examine the situation of migrants before they arrive on European soil. It also proposes a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990 levels by 2030, a target in line with that defined at European level through the “climate law” that came into force in July 2021, which also endorsed the EU’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. On foreign policy, Ensemble wants France to remain in NATO, maintain its nuclear deterrent and double the armed forces budget by 2030. On the war in Ukraine, Ensemble reaffirms its support “in the face of aggression”.

The new Popular Front, an alliance of the left (La France Insoumise – LFI; the Socialist Party – PS; the Communist Party – PC), states in its programme that it rejects the “austerity constraints” of the budgetary stability pact. The alliance wants to propose a European pact for the climate and the social emergency, a reform of the CAP, a social harmonisation mechanism to combat social dumping, and the adoption of the “most favoured legislation clause in Europe”. The new Popular Front is also proposing to increase the EU’s own resources by taxing the richest at European level and to generalise the taxation of super profits at European level. It proposes moving to qualified majority voting in the Council on tax issues. On foreign policy, the new Popular Front is committed to defending the sovereignty and freedom of the Ukrainian people, as well as the integrity of its borders, notably by delivering the necessary arms and cancelling its foreign debt. With regard to Gaza, it wants to work for an immediate ceasefire and for a just and lasting peace.

The Rassemblement National has presented its programme containing a number of proposals on European and international policy. The party chaired by Jordan Bardella intends to reject any transfer of powers to the European Union in the fields of defence and diplomacy, and to promote European preference in military purchases by Member States. The Rassemblement National also wants to open negotiations with its European partners to restrict Schengen freedom of movement to European nationals. At national level, the Rassemblement National advocates the introduction of a “national priority”. At EU level, in terms of energy, it wants France to get out of the European rules for setting energy prices. The programme also calls for a reversal of the ban on sales of new internal combustion cars in 2035, endorsed last year by the Member States and the European Parliament. The Rassemblement National is calling for a change in the mandate of the European Central Bank (ECB) “to turn it towards employment, productivity and the financing of long-term strategic projects”.