Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

To save France, Macron is dividing Europe

By Eoin Drea

27 Feb 2023 · 6 min read

Editor's Note

The French president's misjudgments and "tone-deafness" when it comes to Putin are driving a growing rift between France and the rest of the EU, according to this FP analysis.

In 2017, newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron laid out his grand vision for France’s role in the future of Europe. Speaking at Sorbonne University, he bemoaned that Europeans were “concentrating all of our energy on our internal divisions.” He warned of “losing our debates in a European civil war”—by which he meant endless disagreements within the European Union about financial resources and budget constraints. To create a “strong Europe” capable of leading on the world stage, Macron proposed his solution: A centralized EU with a common political, economic, and social model—essentially an EU recreated in France’s own image—wrapped in another deeply ingrained French idea, that of a bloc that is strategically autonomous from the United States.

Anyone who has followed French debates even for an instant will recognize this as textbook French statism—with a few updates for the digital, environmentally conscious age.

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