The former socialist president wanted to remind his predecessor that Vladimir Putin “made war his ideology”. Consequently, the diplomatic way advocated by Nicolas Sarkozy is, in his eyes, futile.
It’s been years since François Hollande set foot in a PS summer school. Since leaving the Elysée, the former socialist president, burdened with his heavy balance sheet, was persona non grata in the receipts of the rose party. Until the end of summer 2023 … He was this Thursday in Blois, at the traditional seminar of the “national foundation of elected socialists and republicans” which is always held in the preamble to the socialist summer university. It was Hélène Geoffroy, new president of this FNESR, and opponent of Olivier Faure, who invited him to talk about European issues. “François Hollande is the most relevant personality to talk about the international crises we are going through,” she underlines in Figaro.
The former head of state especially took the opportunity to respond to Nicolas Sarkozy on the war in Ukraine. The two former presidents have diametrically opposed points of view on the outcome of the conflict. In an interview with Le Figaro last week, Nicolas Sarkozy considered that Ukraine should “remain a neutral country”, that it had “a vocation as a bridge between Europe and Russia”. François Hollande denounced the “errors” of his predecessor who, according to him, reduced Ukraine to its only “geographical position”. “It would therefore be ‘unlucky’ for Ukraine, which should therefore neither join the European Union nor NATO,” he said.
Hollande calls himself a “candidate for nothing”
Just as, when Nicolas Sarkozy considers that Vladimir Poutine “is not irrational” and that “diplomacy, discussion, exchange remain the only means of finding an acceptable solution”, François Hollande conversely judges that these efforts are in vain because the Russian head of state “makes war his ideology”. For the former socialist president, on the other hand, we must expect a long conflict, and do everything so that “public opinion does not get tired, does not resign itself”. According to him, it is also necessary to speed up the sending of arms to the Ukrainians.
At the dawn of the campaign for the European elections, François Hollande therefore calls on the “European socialists” to “hold before public opinion this discourse of truth”. To the point that these most loyal supporters would imagine him well… at the head of the future list of the PS in 2024. “François Hollande wants to leave the feeling that he could himself carry the list. He sees this deadline as a possible return to politics. All this still risks turning into a farce,” sighs a left-wing official. Not sure that this option will appeal to Olivier Faure, the first secretary, as relations are icy between the two men – even if they exchanged for the first time in a long time about ten minutes in Blois this Thursday. In a small committee, François Hollande simply assures that he wants a socialist list “the most attractive possible”, but promises it: “I am not a candidate for anything!”.
This article is originally published on lefigaro.fr