Macron’s dilemma: European sovereignty or alienating allies? Former French politician Pierre Lellouche analyzes Macron’s blunders and their impact on France on New Thinking for a New World.
French President, Emmanuel Macron, has had a complicated few weeks.
On the one hand, China’s President Xi gave him red-carpet treatment in Beijing, where Macron, again, made his case for European strategic sovereignty — code for independence from the United States — and said that Europe should not follow America’s lead on Taiwan. Both were music to Chinese ears.
On the other, his Taiwan comments stirred widespread anger across Europe and, of course, in Washington. He was burned in effigy in Paris during massive protests against pension reform, shouted down by hecklers in Amsterdam who challenged his democratic credentials, and lectured by even the Iranian government to respect the rights of protesters in the streets. His approval rating is below 30%, and the most recent polls suggest that if the election were held today instead of two years ago, Marine Le Pen would beat him in a landslide. Protesters have taken to reminding him that King Louis XVI ended his reign on the guillotine.
What’s going on?
There seem to be only two possibilities. Either Macron has lost his way, which is dangerous for a president of an important country with four years left on his mandate, or he’s playing a long game that only he understands.
Our guest on New Thinking for a New World, has strong views on those alternatives. Pierre Lellouche is a former French parliamentarian, government minister, diplomat, and widely-published commentator in France. He is deeply worried about what he sees as Macron’s strategic and political mistakes and the consequences for his country.
Do you agree that Macron’s use of the French constitutional provision allowing him to bypass Parliament and force an increase in France’s retirement age, was anti-democratic? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
Pierre Lellouche holds a doctorate from Paris and Harvard Law School. He was a co-founder of the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI), a practicing lawyer as well as a columnist in a variety of French and international media.
Since the early 1990s when he became Jacques Chirac’s diplomatic adviser, he served 5 terms in the French National Assembly, and twice as a Minister (Europe and Foreign trade). Other appointments include President of NATO Parliamentary Assembly, special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, French Negotiator for ITER (thermonuclear fusion).
He is now an Associate Partner with Agora Strategy Group (Munich), and a Columnist for Marianne Magazine and French TV network CNews.
Pierre Lellouche is the author of many books and articles on international affairs. His latest book is ”Une guerre sans fin”, 2016.