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Is Macron's influence in the EU weakened following Sunday's elections?

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By Gregoire Lory
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French president Emmanuel Macron lost his majority in the legislature following the elections on Sunday night.
French president Emmanuel Macron lost his majority in the legislature following the elections on Sunday night.   -   Copyright  Michel Euler/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

The results of France's legislative elections on Sunday are a major setback for President Emmanuel Macron, re-elected just two months ago.

The country will now have a head of state without an absolute majority, making his agenda all the more difficult to go ahead with.

The question from Brussels is now whether his own voice within the EU risks being weakened?

Eric Maurice, head of the Robert Schuman Foundation, told Euronews that the situation is unprecedented, thus presenting many uncertainties.

"What is unknown is the role of the French National Assembly, in the context of European policies or in terms of the acceptance of these policies," Maurice explained.

"Since we have never had this case under the 5th Republic -- an absence of a majority in the Assembly -- therefore we do not know what influence this can have on the positions of governments in the [EU] Council of Ministers or on the implementation of agreements that could be made at the European level."

If Emmanuel Macron is considered the champion of the EU, then this election reveals once again the distrust citizens have towards the way the European project is going, with nearly 50% voting for a bloc that is predominantly Eurosceptic.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally, gained 17% of all votes counted.

The Leftist coalition, NUPES, led by populist Jean-Luc Mélenchon and made up of many similarly anti-EU members, received nearly 32% of the popular vote.

Awenig Marié, a researcher at the Université Libre de Bruxelles, said the results send a resounding message.

"The results of the French legislative election are sending a message, which is to say that Europe must currently be rethought," Marié told Euronews.

"We must discuss it again. We should not interpret the result of the French election as a referendum, however."

The NUPES coalition had hoped to choose their own prime minister following Sunday's elections, but that ultimately failed.

The strength of the French left is, however, impossible to overlook now.

But even if this ragtag coalition of traditional and radical left politicians was successful at the French ballot box, it is an alliance that is less obvious in other EU countries, according to Maurice.

"We see that in Germany, for example, having a coalition between the SPD and Die Linke, for example, has not been done at the federal level," he said. 

"We see that in other states, for example Spain, the coalition between Podemos and the Socialist Party, has not borne fruit either. In Belgium, for example, we see that the Socialists do not want to join forces, or rather it is the extreme left that does not want to join forces with the Socialists. 

"And in the northern countries, traditionally social democrats, there is no real prospect of this kind of alliance. So it is very difficult to see in this French situation the possibility of something that could be done in other European states."

It is now up to President Macron to see if he can continue his grand vision for Europe or whether he will have to take a new approach when it comes to this newly formed political landscape in France.