Will Macron benefit from the war in Ukraine?

French President Macron's active role as a mediator in the war in Ukraine could potentially bring him advantages but also entails risks in the presidential election campaign, commentators observe.

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The Times (GB) /

Rivals hindered by pro-Putin stance

Columnist Agnès Poirier explains in The Times why the president's chances of re-election are increasing:

“A majority of the French feel that their president did everything to avoid this war and, now that it is raging, polls suggest that they increasingly want him to lead France for five more years. ... Meanwhile, his rivals on the far right and far left, namely Marine Le Pen, Éric Zemmour and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, are unconvincingly trying to bury their long admiration for Putin, digging themselves deeper into ignominy every day. I would not be surprised if they sank in the first round of the elections, on April 10.”

Le Monde (FR) /

He said it all along

Macron can now score points against his rivals in terms of content too, Le Monde points out in its lead article:

“As a pioneer in the battle over Europe, Emmanuel Macron can boast of being a nose ahead of his rivals. He was the first to point out the weaknesses of the European continent, to champion the concept of strategic autonomy and to seek an economic and democratic model attractive enough to stand up to dictators. The European debate, stalled for years over budgetary and monetary issues, is now taking on a whole new dimension.”

L'Opinion (FR) /

Risky diplomatic efforts

In a second televised speech since the start of the war in Ukraine, Macron stressed his diplomatic efforts vis-à-vis Vladimir Putin. A risky stance, warns L'Opinion:

“If the war were to escalate, it could mean the failure of the only leader still talking to Putin - although he proved unable to curb the latter's murderous madness. This is why the head of state made things clear: if he talks to the Russian President, it's to prevent him from drifting further away. The speech has clarified his stance. Now it's time for Macron to declare his candidacy and put some life into the debate. So that, as he acknowledged, this war no longer 'impacts our democratic life'.”