Future scenarios of Europe will depend upon the choice made by France, Lithuania's Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius said in comment of the results of the first round of voting in French presidential elections where pro-European candidate Emmanuel Macron came in narrowly ahead of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
E. Macron and M. Le Pen
© DELFI montažas / Scanpix

In Linkevičius' words, a consolidated and strong Europe is in Lithuania's interest.

"This is not the end yet, an interim finish line, we congratulate the finalists and wish them luck, hoping that the people of France make the correct choice, especially since they are not just electing the president for France but a very important state leader for the whole Europe. When we are now discussing the future fore Europe, future scenarios for Europe will largely depend on the leader of France. Therefore, we are not impartial, we are partial in the sense that we want a consolidated and strong Europe," Linkevičius told journalists at the Lithuanian parliament on Monday.

The minister did not specify any candidates, saying it "would not be acceptable to discuss personalities," however, warned about the threat of populism.

"In general, I want to say that everything taking place in Europe, with radicals and populists raising their heads, this is a sign of underperformance of the so-called political elite, as parting between the people and the government is so wide that sometimes people do not just fail to understand what the government is doing but even make decisions by casting ballots in referendums and elections based on emotions, not argumentation," said the minister.

He recalled the March parliamentary elections in the Netherlands that were victorious for moderate politicians amid populism fears across Europe following the last year's Brexit.

"After the elections in the Netherlands, there was a celebration of victory against the radicals, and I then said and can repeat it again – this is not the great victory, which should calm us down, we should all think about it. The absence of such tendencies in Lithuania and the fact that radical and populist forces are not very visible here does not mean that the problem is not important to us. It is important to the whole world, therefore, the elections are very important, just as the elections in Germany," said Linkevičius.

The first round of presidential elections in France on Sunday made it clear that the run-off in two weeks will include Macro and Le Pen. The latest forecasts published on Sunday evening suggest that pro-business Macron should defeat Le Pen who last week stepped up her rhetoric against emigrants and the EU.

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