facing Valérie Hayer, Jordan Bardella mocks “Macron’s Europe”

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The National Rally candidate, Jordan Bardella, and the Macronist, Valérie Hayer, before the debate on BFM-TV, Thursday May 2. MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP

It was their first face-to-face debate, eagerly awaited by both camps, almost a month before the European elections. The candidate of the National Rally (RN), Jordan Bardella, and the head of the Macronist list, Valérie Hayer, both MEPs since 2019, presented for more than two hours on BFM-TV, Thursday May 2, two diametrically opposed visions, that this either on agriculture, Ukraine or even immigration.

Throughout this debate, the far-right elected official, hitherto favorite in the polls, has continued to nationalize the issues of the election, targeting above all the President of the Republic. “On June 9, we will have to both sanction Emmanuel Macron’s policy because it is the only national election of the five-year term before the next presidential election and obviously sanction Macron’s Europe which, just a few weeks ago, put thousands of farmers on the streets of the country »he said, believing that Mme Hayer “represents political power in France this evening”.

Mocking “duplicity” by Jordan Bardella – “he says what he doesn’t vote for, he doesn’t vote for what he says” – and regularly reproaching him for cutting him off, Mme Hayer placed herself as a candidate “profoundly European”. “I deeply believe that it is by strengthening Europe that we will strengthen France and that we will strengthen the French”she defended, while her list is threatened in the polls by that led by the socialist Raphaël Glucksmann.

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Questioned in the preamble of the program about the recent succession of news items, including the death of Matisse, 15, killed in Chateauroux on April 27 by a minor of Afghan nationality, the Macronist candidate denounced “indignity” of the RN which “systematically exploits tragedies to make political profit”: “You choose your victims, you choose your perpetrators when there are tragedies. » “You are the actors of the rise of the fever in France, you contribute to dividing our country”, she added, thus drawing a parallel with the series “La Fever”, which depicts a fragmented society. “Emmanuel Macron’s France is experiencing record insecurity, there is no longer a single place in our country where the French are safe from violence, from insecurity”replied Jordan Bardella, advocating “firmness, still firmness, still firmness”.

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On Ukraine, Bardella judges Macron’s comments “dangerous”

During the program, the two candidates debated the war in Ukraine, one of the major subjects of this European campaign. While Emmanuel Macron reiterated his position on the subject of a possible deployment of ground troops in Ukraine, in an interview published Thursday by The Economistbelieving that “we must not exclude anything”, Mr. Bardella considered these remarks ” dangerous “. “ [Ils] make us take a major risk, that of escalation. Today Ukraine needs equipment to ensure its defense, in particular anti-missile and anti-tank equipment. President Zelensky does not call for troops », assured Mr. Bardella. Before recalling the position of the National Rally: “Provide the Ukrainians in concrete terms with what they need to hold the front and enable France to prevent any escalation by consolidating our security architecture in eastern Europe in particular. »

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Valérie Hayer has, she, “assumed the strategic ambiguity of the President of the Republic which is useful”. “Putin does not set any red lines and even exceeds them. He crosses them one after the other. He only understands the balance of power”she defended, before questioning Jordan Bardella about his votes in the European Parliament during the last mandate.

“Not once have you supported Ukraine, not once have you condemned the conditions of detention of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny [mort en prison en février] »she attacked, believing that he “ended up doing it the day after his death, when his widow came to the European Parliament”. “How could you look into her eyes?” “, she asked. In response, Mr. Bardella accused M.me Hayer and his camp “to play games, to make fun of Parliament by voting for resolutions which are only symbolic”. The far-right candidate then reaffirmed his opposition “to any European enlargement”and in particular at the entry of Ukraine, which would sign, according to him, “the end of French agriculture”.

The two candidates then returned to the words of Emmanuel Macron who said he was ready to “open the debate” of a European defense which would also include nuclear weapons. “I am in favor of opening this debate which must therefore include anti-missile defense, long-range weapon firing, nuclear weapons for those who have them or who have American nuclear weapons on their soil”declared the head of state in an interview on Sunday with regional dailies.

For meme Hayer, this proposal aims to “allowing our European partners to benefit from this nuclear umbrella from which we sometimes benefit”. “But we are not going to decide at Vingt-Sept to activate the button [nucléaire]. It will remain the decision of the President of the Republic”, she assured. Conversely, for Jordan Bardella, through this proposal, “Emmanuel Macron does not defend French interests” considering that France “would then no longer have his right of veto” to the Security Council of the United Nations.

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For Hayer “without Europe, our French agriculture would not be so strong”

These two visions of Europe also clashed on agriculture several weeks after the mobilization of farmers across a large part of the continent. Jordan Bardella notably denounced trade agreements, including that with Canada, CETA, which, according to him, weakens farmers by “putting in competition with the whole earth”. “You are therefore organizing unfair competition against which our farmers cannot fight. You are multiplying environmental standards with ever more constraints and sometimes with bans on phytosanitary products without any alternative”he continued.

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The candidate from the presidential camp – Renaissance, MoDem, Horizons and UDI – for her part defended the Common Agricultural Policy which “made it possible to secure ten billion euros of aid which comes each year for French farmers”however calling for “accelerate the fight against unfair competition”. “My personal conviction is that without Europe, our French agriculture would not be so strong”she said.

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Finally, the two MEPs were questioned about immigration. They notably discussed the migration pact adopted by the European Parliament in April. The text provides in particular for the tightening of controls on migrant arrivals within the EU and the establishment of a system of solidarity between Member States in the distribution of refugees. “With this pact, we finally have a concrete solution on the table to regulate irregular immigration”greeted Valérie Hayer, according to which this will allow “for the first time to register people arriving at the EU borders. We will take their identity, fingerprints, passport, photo…”.

Conversely, Jordan Bardella, who voted against this pact in the European Parliament, believes that it imposes “a very simple equation: it is the compulsory distribution of migrants in the Member States or financial punishment”. The far-right MEP then defended “the principle of the double border”. “I think that freedom of movement in the Schengen area should only be allowed to nationals of the European Union. Arriving in Italy and obtaining any kind of residence permit should not give you the right to travel in all European countries.he proposed, taking the example of airports “where if you are a non-European national, you must submit to a check”.

Furthermore, Valérie Hayer tried to attack Jordan Bardella on the RN’s allies in the European Parliament and on the history of the far-right party. The Macronist candidate notably asked the MEP to declare that “Jean-Marie Le Pen was a disgrace” of his political training “for fifty years”. Mr. Bardella then admitted that the founder of the RN had made comments in his life “eminently anti-Semitic”. “But if once again, ten years later, you are calling on Jean-Marie Le Pen for help, it is probably because you do not have much to say about what interests our fellow citizens”he then replied.

The two candidates will meet in an upcoming televised debate which will bring together the main leaders on May 21 on LCI, almost two weeks before the vote.

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