With President-elect Emmanuel Macron poised to take power on Sunday in Paris, French Ambassador to the US Gérard Araud, who served as diplomatic advisor to the candidate, sat down with FRANCE 24’s Philip Crowther in Washington.
Araud discusses his open criticism of Marine Le Pen in the run-up to the election. "I have been a diplomat for 35 years, so I do know that a diplomat, a French civil servant, is not supposed to get involved in a French political campaign," Araud, an active Twitter user, tells Crowther.
"But this time was quite different because Madame [Marine] Le Pen has said that France should get out of the European Union, out of the euro, so it is not [just] any policy," Araud argues. "It was something which was in a sense changing all the French foreign policy… which has been implemented for 70 years by all the governments. So I felt constrained by my conscience."
Araud discusses his relief at the election’s result, but he says the concerns that surfaced with France’s "populist outburst" now needs to be addressed. The career diplomat also parses the similarities and differences between recent elections in the US and France, and discusses the first phone call between President Donald Trump and his counterpart-elect Macron.
"Usually, in these phone calls, it is only congratulations and friendship, but President Macron raised only one issue and it was precisely climate change, to say that it was very important for us that the US remain in the framework of the Paris Agreement," Araud says.