AMIENS, France (Reuters) – In Emmanuel Macron’s hometown of Amiens, it’s hard to find enthusiasm for either the French president or the European Union, less than a week before European parliament elections.
Blue-collar workers on its outskirts are tempted by protest votes, while a disillusioned, conservative middle-class in its pretty center is contemplating other right-leaning candidates or not even voting at all, spelling bad news for the president in his battle against the far-right.
“We’ve been abandoned,” Antonio Abrunhosa, 49, a former welder, told Reuters on the deserted parking lot of the former Whirlpool tumble-dryer factory.
It was at the plant in the 2017 presidential election campaign that Macron tried to convince workers angered about the plant’s relocation to Poland that far-right leader Marine Le Pen’s protectionist, Eurosceptic views were misguided.
Two years on, only a fraction of the former workers have been taken on by the plant’s new owner, and resentment at both the European Union and Macron is building.