100 Macron seats were blown away because of Putin… Song Young-chan’s Diplomatic of Weaponization of Intensified Energy

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‘350 seats → 245 seats’

As a result of a runoff in the French House of Representatives on the 19th, the number of seats in the pan-passport led by President Emmanuel Macron has decreased by more than 100 compared to five years ago. France has a total of 577 seats in the House of Representatives, requiring 289 seats to get a majority. 44 seats are not enough for the majority.

On the other hand, the National Coalition (RN), a far-right party led by Marine Le Pen, who met President Macron in the runoff in April last year, had 89 seats, more than ten times the number of seats compared to the last general election. At the time of the last general election, Jean-Luc Melanchon, the leader of the far-left party that did not yield to France (LFI), which had only 17 seats at the time of the last general election, joined the center-right Republican Party and the Socialist Party that formed the Yanggang structure at one time to form a pan-left coalition called the New People’s Middle Ecological Society (New People’s Association). NUPES) and occupied a whopping 133 seats, standing tall as the number one opposition party. It is the first time in 20 years that the French general election has entered the phase of women’s opposition.

Russia cuts gas supply to Europe ahead of French general election

President Emmanuel Macron leaves the voting booth after casting his vote at a polling station in Letouquet, northern northern France, on the 12th, when the first round of voting in the French general election was held. / AFP Yonhap News

To understand the results of the French general election, we must first look at Russia’s recent moves toward Europe. Recently, Russia has drastically cut natural gas supplies to Europe in retaliation against the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia and military aid to Ukraine. Russia has reduced the amount of natural gas transported through the Northstream pipeline to Germany, the largest importer of its own gas, by 60%. On the 15th, gas supply to France was completely stopped, and on the 17th, gas supply to Italy was cut by half.

Russia refutes claims from Western countries that the cuts in gas supply are ‘economic retaliation’. Russia’s state-owned natural gas company, Gazprom, said the move was “because parts of the broken gas pipeline did not arrive due to Western sanctions against Russia.” The ‘Turkey Stream’ gas pipe passing through the Black Sea from the 21st to the 28th has also been shut down for annual safety inspections.

The ‘energy weapon’ wielded by Russia is a direct blow to European leaders. Ahead of his general election, President Macron proposed a $28 billion (about 36 trillion won) support measure for low-income families and businesses, the introduction of caps on gas and electricity prices, and a plan to refund part of the gasoline price, but was defeated in the general election. In Germany, starting with the Lower Saxony provincial elections in October, state and federal elections are scheduled in a row. The situation is better than France and Germany, but Italy is also facing a general election in June next year.

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The French political landscape has completely changed.

Former French President Jacques Chirac (right), former center-right Popular Movement Coalition, and former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, former Socialist Party./ AFP Yonhap News

Former French President Jacques Chirac (right), former center-right Popular Movement Coalition, and former French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, former Socialist Party./ AFP Yonhap News

Macron, who became the first target of Putin’s attack that weaponized energy, is particularly devastating. Of course, in any country that has adopted a presidential system, including Korea, the power of the president’s state affairs is bound to come when he is a woman. But in France, it’s even worse. This is because France is adopting a dual government system. Unlike Korea, where the president appoints a person who shares a philosophy with him as prime minister, although ratification by the National Assembly is required, in France, the leader of the one-party parliament that holds a majority, like Britain and Japan, is the prime minister. There is a high possibility that a ‘cohabitation government’ with different political parties to the president and prime minister will be created. In fact, in the 1997 general election, the opposition Socialist Party won the general election, and the right-wing President Jacques Chirac was the prime minister, and the Socialist Party leader Lionel Jospin, who had faced Chirac in the previous presidential election, was created.

France, which originally had a seven-year term as president, passed a referendum in 2000 to amend the constitution to shorten the term to five. And since 2002, it will be held in line with the cycle of the presidential and general elections. As the general election was held about two months after the presidential election, the party that won the presidential election, that is, the ruling party, won the general election again. But this time, as the passports led by President Macron failed to secure a majority in the House of Representatives, it was the first time in 20 years since 1997-2002 that the women’s society was created.

In particular, in this French general election, the traditional two-way structure between the left and right parties that has been maintained is also completely over. In France, after the inauguration of the Fifth Republic in 1958, the Republican Party (LR), a center-right party that succeeded the New Republic Coalition founded by Charles de Gaulle, the first president, and the Socialist Party led by François Mitterrand, who served as president from 1981 to 14 years, opposite De Gaulle. The yang river composition of

However, in 2017, the center party Enmarche (EM, now Renaissance), led by President Macron, won a majority in the general election following the presidential election, and both the Republican and Socialist parties collapsed. The political landscape itself is turned upside down. The Republican Party, which took the casting boat after the ruling party’s devastating defeat, gained face, but in the case of the Socialist Party, it failed to form a party coalition on its own, and participated in the pan-left coalition led by the far-left LFI representative, Melanchon, and completely lost the initiative of the left.

It is said that the original poles and poles go hand in hand. In France, there are many points where the far-left and the far-right communicate. The most notable thing about this French general election is that both parties are pro-Russian. In the case of Le Pen, it is so sticky that there are suspicions that it received Russian money during the operation of RN. He said that even melanchon “shouldn’t put Putin in a corner,” and he has continued to patrol Russia. Both the far-left and the far-right have negative attitudes toward the European Union (EU), one of the key criteria that separates political ideologies in France. This is the first time in French history that the far-left and far-right have won so many seats. There is currently no party holding a majority, so if President Macron fails to form a coalition with the Republican Party, there could be chaos. Putin shuts off the gas valve, shutting off Macron’s political life.

Soaring global grain and energy prices

Smoke rises near a wheat field in the Bakhmut region of eastern Ukraine. / Reuters

Smoke rises near a wheat field in the Bakhmut region of eastern Ukraine. / Reuters

Countries in Europe are reeling from soaring energy and grain prices. As Russia drastically reduced its supply, the proportion of temporary fiscal expenditure in response to the current surge in energy prices in the total economy exceeded 1% in France and Germany, 2% in Italy, and 3% in Greece. no see.

In the face of the imminent energy crisis, European countries are abandoning their carbon-free stance and increasing coal power generation. In Germany, the Social Democratic Party’s Chancellor Schultz is currently in power, and the Social Democrats have overturned their stance of phasing out coal power generation by 2030 and restarting idle coal-fired power plants and reducing natural gas consumption. to provide incentives to

German Economy Minister Robert Haveck delivers a speech on the 21st. / Reuters

German Economy Minister Robert Haveck delivers a speech on the 21st. / Reuters

Germany’s economy minister, Robert Havek, said on the 19th, “It is bittersweet. But in this situation, it is necessary to reduce gas consumption.” He emphasized that “increasing the use of coal is a temporary measure due to the worsening gas market conditions.” “It is clear that Putin’s strategy is trying to sway us and raise (energy) prices,” he said. The emergency measures announced today will be implemented until March 31, 2024, and the necessary laws will be enacted within a few weeks. Not only Germany, but Austria also started the restart of coal-fired power plants that were completely shut down in early 2020.

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Another reason that the energy crisis is expected to be more serious this year is that Western Europe is currently suffering from heat waves. Southern Spain has exceeded 43 degrees since the second week of June, and France has already joined the 40 degrees procession. In Germany, as the heat wave continues, there has been a series of large wildfires.

Grain prices are also on the rise. Since Russia and Ukraine, the world’s largest wheat producers, are at war, prices have risen since the outbreak of the war. However, the situation has worsened recently as Russia has closed down Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Grain shipments were not carried out due to port blockades. Currently, more than 20 million tons of wheat are left in silos. The EU is demanding that the Ukrainian maritime blockade be lifted in exchange for lifting sanctions and allowing Russia to export food and fertilizers. The question is whether Russia will accept this.

Under this circumstance, the value of the Russian ruble is constantly rising, unlike when the US-led strong financial sanctions against Russia were first launched. On the 22nd (local time) on the Moscow foreign exchange market, the ruble closed at 54 rubles per dollar. It is hitting the highest level in 7 years every day. Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, it was expelled from the Swift network and subjected to severe financial sanctions. Russia made oil and natural gas to be paid in rubles, raised the benchmark interest rate from 9.5% to 20%, and boosted the value of the ruble as international energy prices soared.

A man is passing in front of the market price of a currency exchange office in Moscow, Russia on the 15th. / Yonhap News

A man is passing in front of the market price of a currency exchange office in Moscow, Russia on the 15th. / Yonhap News

Russia, which has been on the offensive in the international situation, has recently been showing confidence. This is because the unity of Western countries is already showing signs of collapsing. In particular, the world economy is faltering and, unlike Russia, the heads of countries who are sensitive to public sentiment due to elections are busy paying attention to domestic inflation. Putin, who took the ‘flower of democracy’ election as his opponent’s weakness, is concerned about how long it will adversely affect the international situation and the global economy.

Reporter Song Young-chan 0full@hankyung.com

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