François Fillon has urged Angela Merkel to soften her position towards Russia and harden her policies on migration, as France’s presidential frontrunner flew to Berlin for the first time since his victory in French centre-right primaries.
Speaking on Monday after meeting the German chancellor, Mr Fillon insisted on the need to restore better relations with Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying it would help to eradicate the Islamist terror threat to France and Germany rooted in war-torn Syria.
Mr Fillon said he opposed Brussels’ plan to spread refugees from the Middle East and Africa across the EU to share the burden of an unprecedented migration to Europe.
He also implicitly criticised Ms Merkel’s choice to engage Turkey in EU membership talks in exchange for Ankara’s commitment to keeping migrants on its soil.
“We have differences on the question of refugees and the economy? Let’s face up to them the better to overcome them,” Mr Fillon told German MPs and journalists at the Konrad Adenauer foundation, a conservative think-tank. “France cannot accept more refugees. The right to asylum does not equate to migratory disorder.”
Russia should “be a major partner”, Mr Fillon said in Berlin. “We need to get out of this deadlock that we put ourselves in and which does not benefit anyone,” he said.
Differences With Merkel
Assuming this comes down to the expected runoff between National Front candidate Marine le Pen and Republican candidate François Fillon, let’s assess that setup from the point of view of Merkel.
- Fillon: Pro-Russia, anti-Turkey, Opposes Merkel’s refugee spreading
- Le Pen: Pro-Russia, anti-Turkey, anti-immigration, anti-euro, anti-EU, Pro-Trump
Of course, this assumes the final pairing comes down that way.
Macron En Marche
Emmanuel Macron runs as an “outsider” for his newly founded En Marche party. His chance largely depends on ability to capture Leftist vote from the winner of the Socialist primary runoff between Benoît Hamon and Manuel Valls.
Macron plays himself up as a centrist who supports Merkel’s refugee policy. Can he win the Left vote on such a platform?
Socialist Round Two January 29
Hamon came out of nowhere to win the first round of the Socialist primary. The second round between Hamon Valls is on January 29. Like Trump, Hamon is a social media darling. He uses Twitter to state his positions.
Consensus opinion is that le Pen cannot win. Consensus opinion also says the socialists cannot win. So what happens if Hamon squares off against le Pen?
Independent candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is nothing more than a disgruntled socialist. What if Melenchon dropped out and supported Hamon? Could that energize the Left?
A win by Macron or le Pen is not out of the question.
The socialists worst fear is a match-up between le Pen and Fillon, but splintering suggests that is the most likely outcome.
Many of le Pen’s views are far left of Fillon. This is not a shoe-in for Fillion as most expect.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock.