On the foreign policy side, French President Emmanuel Macron is still predicting that in the British magazine "The Economist" he issued NATO with an indictment of poverty this week – and demanded a new world power consciousness from Europe. In order to prove this to China, he appeared at the beginning of the week with German company bosses at the import fair in Shanghai. For this he received much praise in Berlin and Paris. Domestically, however, Macron is giving way at the moment.
Those who had always considered the president a disguised right or heartless investment banker were not surprised. But who at least a little bit of faith in his many humanistic enlightening speeches of the past years, was shocked when he discovered the president last week on the cover of the right-conservative magazine "Valeurs actuelles".
"The failure of our model interacts with the crisis Islam is going through," the paper quoted the president in capital letters on his front page. He had given the magazine a detailed exclusive interview that did not appear as such, but was published as part of a text that was held in the usual, xenophobic tone of the magazine.
Le Pen catching up in polls
What do you think of the 27 percent of Muslims in France who, according to a 2019 poll, take the laws of Sharia more seriously than the laws of the Republic, the author of the report asks the president in the text. "That, that's my fight … that's a big problem for us," Macron says, according to the report. What the author continues: "This will be his last confession."
The interview is part of a series of statements and actions by Macron that give a big picture: The president is currently doing everything to beat his harshest political opponent, right-wing extremist Marine Le Pen, where he fancies her most: in immigration and foreigners policy.
- He speaks in the newspaper close to her.
- He leaves the last remaining illegal refugee camps on the outskirts of Paris. Although these often offer refugees the only chance of survival in the capital.
- He introduced a new, somewhat stricter law on foreigners, which denies those who are getting sick the usual hospital treatment.
Macron's calculation is probably based on new polls: According to him, he has finally shaken off his traditional opponents – socialists and conservatives. Already at the first ballot of a future presidential election he and Le Pen would be 27 to 28 percent of the vote, significantly more than each of them won at the last election two years ago.
But in a second round, which won Macron at that time with a margin of 32.2 percent of the vote, the lead would be according to the polls only about eleven percent of the vote. A dramatic change that gives Le Pen realistic chances to win from the point of view of pollsters.
Does the immigration policy decide on the next election?
At the Elysée Palace, these predictions seem to be taken very seriously. According to French media reports, Macron informed the entire Cabinet about this and stressed that the next elections will be in the area of immigration policy.
Worries even go beyond the next election: "If Macron wins in such circumstances in 2022, what happens next time?" Asks Macron's special advisor Philippe Grangeon, according to the weekly paper "Canard Enchaîné".
"This poll suggests that Macron will be the last Republican in the Élysée Palace and follow Le Pen after him," said Grangeon. According to the constitution, a president can remain in office for only two consecutive ten-year terms in France.
In France there will soon be new protests
Macron's advisers probably do not think seriously about the year 2027, rather the next poll. As a result, all eyes in the Élysée Palace are currently set on 5 December, for which the railway unions have announced a strike against Macron's pension reform.
Strikes only the railroad workers, that's no problem. But many political observers fear a renewed social conflagration as in the wake of the yellow-voted protests a year ago.
No wonder, then, when Macron Travel to China is currently recovering. At home he has now gone to the lowlands of the political mud battle with Le Pen. He and his advisors believe that to stay in power, he can not avoid it.