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EU fears French snap vote could undermine aid for Kiev – Bloomberg

Early legislative elections also cast uncertainty over extra EU defense spending, the outlet has said

EU governments are concerned that early elections in France could undermine military aid for Ukraine, including plans to send instructors to train its forces, Bloomberg reported on Monday citing sources familiar with discussions. 

The bloc’s members fear that a snap vote called by French President Emmanuel Macron following his party’s defeat in the European Parliament elections will weaken his role as one of Kiev’s main backers, the outlet said. The plan to send military instructors to Ukraine could also be at risk, the article noted. Concerns are also mounting over additional EU defense spending through collective financing — an idea that Macron has strongly advocated.

The National Rally (NR), associated with Marine Le Pen and currently led by Jordan Bardella, won 31% of the vote – more than double the share of the president’s Renaissance party, at 14.6%.

If the NR wins a majority in the French legislative election – to be held in two rounds on June 30 and July 7 – President Macron will have to spend the remainder of his presidency, until 2027, with a political opponent as prime minister, and will effectively lose control over domestic policy.

Macron has been a leading proponent of deeper NATO involvement in the Ukraine conflict, calling for a coalition of countries to send military trainers to Ukraine. He has also said that the bloc’s members should not rule out deploying ground troops at some point.

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French President Emmanuel Macron at the Ukraine conference on Saturday in Switzerland.
Kiev must not capitulate – Macron

However, a National Rally prime minister “would have totally antagonistic positions from Emmanuel Macron on European issues, Russia, Ukraine, European defense but also climate change,” a political scientist at Sciences Po university, Gilles Ivaldi, told Bloomberg. “Given France’s role in Europe, it would be a weakening of Europe.”

The French president, an ardent advocate of aiding and arming Ukraine in the conflict with Russia, has been accused by former long-time NR leader Le Pen of “playing politics with war” and “hijacking” the hostilities to promote his electoral agenda.

Macron’s pledge to send fighter jets to Kiev will also remain in limbo, according to Bloomberg. The French leader announced that Paris would supply Mirage 2000 fighter jets and train Ukrainian pilots on them just two days before he dissolved parliament.

People familiar with the matter told the outlet that uncertainty is also looming over Macron’s promise to send €3 billion ($3.2 billion) in aid to Ukraine, and that the funding will depend on the election results.

Moscow has long condemned the West for providing military aid to Kiev, and warned against sending foreign military personnel to Ukraine, which it has said would be considered legitimate targets for attack.

June 18, 2024 at 06:43PM

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