Germany, Poland Warn Against French Far-Right Threat Looming Over Ukraine Support


By Théo Bourgery-Gonse

(EurActiv) — German and Polish defence ministers, meeting for talks with their French counterpart on Monday (24 June), warned against the risks of a French government coalition with the far-right and stressed that support for Ukraine was “not open for debate”.

The three defence ministers were meeting in a Weimar Triangle format for the first time in nine years, with the aim to prepare for a critical NATO summit in mid-July.

France is facing a snap legislative election on 30 June and 7 July that could see the far right’s Rassemblement national (RN) gain considerable ground in parliament – and possibly enter government.

Asked whether he was concerned the French far right might thwart the EU’s efforts to support Ukraine, Germany’s Defence Minister Boris Pistorius warned that “nationalism has never been a solution to problems, but rather one of the problems”.

“There is a lot still to do on defence policy, and Franco-German security has never been so important,” Pistorius said.

His Polish counterpart, Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz, further warned that the choice of the French people is critical to “ensure EU security”, adding that “support to the [EU’s] Eastern front is necessary, it’s not open for debate”.

The prospect of the far right entering a new French government has raised concerns that it could seriously hinder European support to Ukraine – with the possibility of France’s Defence Minister Sébastien Lecornu being replaced by a RN politician instead.

Jordan Bardella, France’s far-right leader and RN’s party president, said he would be ready to become prime minister if his party secures an absolute majority in Parliament – that is, at least 289 seats out of 577.

Lecornu said on Monday that giving “[long range] missiles and Mirage 2000-5 [fighter jets] is the least the French Republic can do for Ukraine”, arguing that defence matters ought to be on top of voters’ minds as they go to the polls next Sunday and the one after for the second round.

RN’s hesitations on Ukraine

The RN’s position on Ukraine and NATO has significantly shifted over the years.

Actively against Kyiv’s NATO membership in the past, and reluctant on military and financial support to Ukraine in the first few months of the war, citing escalation risks, the RN has since watered down its positions.

France should not leave NATO while a war is raging on the continent, Bardella confirmed during the European elections campaign. He is also in favour of sending military equipment to Kyiv as long as it is for defensive purposes only and does not include long-range missiles – a position widely different from that of the current defence minister.

In a manifesto published on Monday, the RN said it will “favour a European preference for military equipment purchases by EU member states” and “enshrine the [2024-2030] military budget bill,” and its historic €400-billion high spending plan.

The far-right party, however, is flat-out against sending EU military instructors East to train Ukrainian soldiers on their own soil.

Lecornu blamed the newly-created left-wing coalition ‘Front populaire’ for giving up on defence issues, as its member parties do not see eye to eye on these issues.

Voting for them would “send a signal of recoiling both militarily and industrially,” Lecornu said. La France insoumise, the biggest party in the Front populaire, has been equivocal about Ukraine, and in April voted against a security agreement between Paris and Kyiv.

Polls suggest that both the far-right RN and the leftist Front Populaire should get more votes than President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble coalition.


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