the keys to understanding Parliament’s vote on France’s support for kyiv

A debate, which will be followed by a non-binding vote, is planned in the National Assembly on Tuesday and in the Senate on Wednesday. The discussions promise to be lively, after Emmanuel Macron’s controversial remarks on sending troops to Ukraine.



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A session of questions to the government, February 13, 2024 at the National Assembly, in Paris.  (ALEXIS SCIARD / MAXPPP)

The discussions are likely to be tense. The National Assembly debates, Tuesday March 12, the question of support for Ukraine. The Senate will do the same on Wednesday. In a press release, the Elysée specified that the head of state had asked the government to make a declaration before Parliament “relating to the bilateral security agreement concluded with Ukraine” on February 16.

These discussions will be followed by a non-binding vote. If the political forces say they are in favor of supporting Kiev, they have also denounced the comments of Emmanuel Macron, who said Thursday that he did not want “no limit” on the aid granted to kyiv and assured that the sending of ground troops should not “be excluded”. Franceinfo details what to expect from the debates.

Debates followed by a non-binding vote

The organization of these debates follows “the bilateral security agreement concluded with Ukraine” on February 16, describes the Elysée. This ten-year commitment provides in particular for military aid ranging “up to 3 billion euros” in 2024 and support for Ukraine’s future membership in the European Union (EU).

Concretely, the government will make a declaration under article 50-1 of the Constitution, which will be followed by a debate, Tuesday at 3 p.m. in the National Assembly and Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. in the Senate. A vote will be organized in both houses of Parliament, but it will be non-binding for the government and will not have an impact on the agreement signed with kyiv.

Emmanuel Macron pleads for “unwavering support” for kyiv

The President of the Republic, who promised to go to Ukraine before mid-March, is trying to make his voice heard against Russia. Thursday March 7he received the leaders of parties represented in Parliament at the Elysée to discuss the war in Ukraine. “Faced with an enemy who sets no limits, we cannot afford to formulate any”he asserted during the meeting.

A way of accepting his comments of February 26, when he affirmed that the sending of Western ground troops to Ukraine in the future should not be “be excluded”. The outing had annoyed the French president’s counterparts. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz thus affirmed that“no soldier” would not be sent to Ukraine by European or NATO countries.

Very critical opposition towards Emmanuel Macron’s declarations

If all the political forces have all pleaded for a “unwavering support for Ukraine”according to the entourage of the Head of State at France Télévisions, most of them rejected the possible sending of European troops to Ukraine. “I arrived worried and I left more worried”summarized the coordinator of La France insoumise, Manuel Bompard, to the press at the end of the Élysée meeting. “There are no limits and no red lines”also deplored the president of the National Rally Jordan Bardella.

According to the boss of the communists Fabien Roussel, Emmanuel Macron notably outlined, with a supporting map, the scenario of an advance of the front “to Odessa or to kyiv”, “which could trigger an intervention” to stop Russia. “It’s really a problem of amateurism at this stage”added Marine Tondelier, the head of the Ecologists.

For the president of the Republicans Eric Ciotti, “we can above all wonder the relevance of the president’s declarations, which have not contributed to advancing diplomatic relations one iota. (…) I reiterated the Republicans’ total support for Ukraine, for financial aid and for military equipment. But I reiterated our total opposition to a commitment of ground troops. This is an inappropriate and irresponsible position.”he tackled.

Opposition parties reflect on their vote

If the LR party nevertheless opened the way to a positive vote, and if the Ecologists and the Socialist Party hesitate, the rest of the left leans towards a frank opposition. Fabien Roussel and Manuel Bompard invoked “the prospect of Ukraine joining the European Union or NATO”, which appears in the text submitted to the vote.

It’s about a “Red line” also for Jordan Bardella, who however leaves suspense hanging over the decision of the RN, favorable to “principle of a bilateral agreement”.

A way to put Ukraine back at the center of the game in the European campaign

Emmanuel Macron’s comments are part of a political strategy. The executive intends to make this parliamentary debate a “moment of truth” for each training because “it is essential that the French can know who is defending whom”explained government spokesperson Prisca Thevenot on February 28.

Emmanuel Macron is thus seeking to put Ukraine at the center of the campaign for the European elections on June 9, while polls show Renaissance largely behind the National Rally. The aim of the maneuver: to “get the RN out of the woods” and make those who would oppose outspoken support for kyiv appear pro-Moscow. On February 27, Prime Minister Gabriel Attal set the tone in the National Assembly by asking himself “if Vladimir Putin’s troops are not already in our country”specifically targeting Marine Le Pen.

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