France’s recent policies regarding Russia, including the support for sanctions, lack common sense and need to be reviewed, said Francois Fillon, who leads the race to become the presidential candidate for France’s center-right.
“I think that Francois Hollande’s policies in the past four years regarding Russia, are absurd. They force Russia to take a harsher stance, to self-isolate, to trigger a nationalist reflex,” the former prime minister, who won the first round of center-right presidential primaries, said during debates before the second round.
“Russia is the world’s biggest country, armed to its teeth with nuclear weapons and, therefore, poses danger if treated the way we have been doing it in the past five years,” he continued.
He said that if he is elected the president of France, he would press for an immediate restart of dialogue with Russia.
“I demand that we sit at the negotiating table with Russia, without waiting for a permission from the Americans, and that we try to restore ties,” Fillon said, adding that Russia was not Europe’s primary and immediate threat.
He said the growing economic strength of Asia should become Europe’s main concern.
“It is not a military threat, but a threat of global economic domination. Would it be wise to use the policy of sanctions, which produced no result apart from harming French farmers, in order to push Russia closer to Asia? I think that this policy has failed, and it’s time to admit it,” he said.
The first round of center-right primaries in France was held Sunday. Fillon came first, gathering 44.1% of the vote. In the second round on November 27, he will face Alain Juppe, a centrist popular with the left, who gained 28.6% of the vote in the first round.
The presidential election in France is to be held in April or May 2017. According to analysts and opinion polls, the center-right opposition candidate, who is currently being chosen, is most likely to win them.