Foreign Affairs / Road to EU 2024

Macron’s Agenda shines through in likely Renaissance EU election Line-Up

March 2024
By Maximilian Powell

Valérie Hayer, recently appointed as the President of the Renew Europe Group, was announced on Thursday as the lead candidate for the French liberals in the forthcoming EU elections. The move to nominate Hayer emerges following weeks of speculation indicating that several key political figures had declined the role, sparking concerns over the party’s readiness to kick off its European Parliament electoral campaign.

Hayer, a staunch supporter of President Emmanuel Macron and a MEP from the Renaissance party, rose to prominence after taking on her new role as group President in late January, succeeding Stéphane Séjourné, who earlier this year was appointed as France’s Foreign Minister. With a background in law, she made her entry into the European Parliament in 2019, having previously engaged solely in local politics.

Hayer, who comes from a family of farmers, will be unexpectedly joined by Bernard Guetta, a former journalist and current MEP specialising in foreign affairs, as the second candidate. It is believed that President Macron personally selected Hayer and Guetta, a decision that underscores the French president’s intention to focus on agriculture and the conflict in Ukraine during the campaign. The list also features Nathalie Loiseau, who is a defence specialist as the chair of the Parliament’s Subcommittee on Security and Defence, and was the party’s lead candidate in the 2019 elections. While Séjourné was initially viewed as the frontrunner before assuming the role of Foreign Minister, he still features on the list, albeit in a much lower position.

The composition of the political list appears to reflect Macron’s recent strategic shift aimed at appealing to right-wing voters. One notable change is that Pascal Canfin, previously second on Renaissance’s 2019 list and currently chairing the Committee on the Environment, Public Health, and Food Safety in the European Parliament, but who has recently become a hate figure for the French Farming Union, faces uncertainty regarding his role in the 2024 campaign.

At present, with a polling figure of 19%, the Renaissance is trailing substantially behind Marine Le Pen’s far-right Rassemblement National (ID), which boasts a commanding 30%.