Play­ing roulette with Europe’s fate

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY NIKOS KONSTANDARAS

lu­tion” de­fine the ex­treme right and ex­treme left re­ject­ing any change or de­mand­ing a re­turn to an imag­ined past? Per­haps this time the rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies are cen­trist can­di­date Em­manuel Macron and the cen­ter-right’s Fran­cois Fil­lon, who pro­pose so­lu­tions after decades of in­er­tia, whereas Ma­rine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Me­len­chon, both of whom want a “rene­go­ti­a­tion” of France’s re­la­tion­ship with the EU, are the true con­ser­va­tives. The former dare to sug­gest painful so­lu­tions to com­pli­cated prob­lems, while the lat­ter ped­dle grand “vi­sions” and gain ground. As we have seen in sev­eral re­cent elec­tions and ref­er­en­dums, the per­ils of a leap into the void do not de­ter vot­ers who choose fan­tasy over re­al­ity. The ide­o­log­i­cal frame­work, then, is murky. As are vot­ers’ in­ten­tions. Polls show that the four lead­ing can­di­dates are within a breath of each other. How­ever cau­tious we are with polls, it seems that we can­not rule out any re­sult. If it does turn out that Macron and Le Pen win the most votes on Sun­day, polls sug­gest that Macron will win eas­ily. If Le Pen and Me­len­chon get through, the re­sult on May 7 is less predictable – ex­cept for the panic that will rip through Europe. The Euro­pean Union was de­signed around a close re­la­tion­ship be­tween France and Ger­many, to pre­vent an­other war and to pro­vide the axis for the con­ti­nent’s sta­bil­ity and pros­per­ity. The

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