Emmanuele Macron’s rather convincing victory gives a respite for us supporters of liberal democracy in the fight with autocratic-populist regimes and parties across Europe. Unfortunately, the same comments I made five years ago still hold; before the second round in 2017 I wrote: “the candidate of an open, tolerant and liberal society vs. the candidate of a closed, fearful and illiberal system” and after Macron’s win: “as much as we are supposed to celebrate Macron’s win tonight, this is the clearest warning signal yet that we cannot take the progress Europe has made over the past seven decades for granted. A wake-up call to make the gains from globalization and Europe”
Let’s make no mistake: there is a clear link between autocratic-populists such as Le Pen, Orban, Salvini, Trump and the Brexit movement, on the one hand, and Vladimir Putin. While the latter has killed and poisoned his enemies with impunity across Europe and has attacked a democratically governed country, while at the same time enriching himself and his oligarchs, the former have done everything possible to undermine democracy in their countries and – where they have had the opportunity such as in Hungary and the UK - enrich themselves and their chums through corruption. At the same time, these movements have been supported openly by Putin.
I am writing this as Europe prepares the celebrate the anniversary of the end of World War II. 77 years ago Europe emerged from a brutal war and genocide unleashed by the Nazis. Learning from history means standing up to anyone who threatens liberal democracy, be it by trying to undermine the system from within be it by threating war from outside! The battle lines have been drawn!
24. Apr, 2022