Widely tipped to be France’s next President, François Fillon stormed to victory in US-style primaries last weekend to become the centre-right’s candidate.
He is a social conservative and free marketeer but if he wins next year’s election, what about Fillon’s foreign policy, notably in the Middle East?
We asked François Nicoullaud, France’s former ambassador to Hungary and Iran.
Massoud Salari, Euronews: Do we already know François Fillon’s policy on the Middle East?
François Nicoullaud: “We can’t say that we know his policy, but what we do already know is Fillon’s attitude, his state of mind towards the big questions raised in the Middle East. And it was felt that he had a fairly original position compared to that of the government or even his competitors in the centre-right primaries. He has, shall we say, adopted a stance that is more open to seeking pragmatic solutions rather than taking positions of principle which, in his view, tend to block situations.”
Massoud Salari, Euronews: What would a Fillon presidency mean for Iran?
François Nicoullaud: “What the Iranians can expect of François Fillon if he becomes president is actually a greater proximity, if we can put it that way, of France towards Iran, more of an opening up, a greater understanding of what Iran is and – to be precise – on the continuation of the nuclear agreement reached between Iran and the six world powers. I am convinced that François Fillon will fight, if necessary, for the continuation of this deal which, you know, is a little bit under threat. Because we don’t really know what Donald Trump is going to do. It is possible that Donald Trump will break the deal. That is what he has implied. He has also said the contrary. We are going to enter a period of uncertainty. It is very important that the Europeans and, in particular, France show their commitment to this accord in a very clear way.”