At nine months of the European elections, Emmanuel Macron will plead again this Monday, in his speech to the ambassadors, for a more integrated Europe and for multilateralism, against the current of a global wave of nationalist withdrawal. By presenting, as every year, its diplomatic roadmap, the French president will recall its objectives for the continent: a budget for the euro zone, a Europe of defense, a European taxation of the digital giants or a common policy for migrants.
Welcomed as a savior of Europe last year, the French president has seen its ambitions diluted in the inertia of a union of countries with often divergent interests. Its big projects clash with populist and nationalist governments, from Eastern Europe to Italy, the refusal of wealthy northern countries to pay for others, tax competition between the 28 and fear an influx of migrants, not to mention the difficult negotiations of Brexit. Even Angela Merkel, the traditional ally, has been weakened by her electoral woes.
To seek allies, the Head of State leaves in mini-European tour, flying Tuesday for three days in Denmark and Finland. He will have visited more than half of his European counterparts in one year. Emmanuel Macron should also remind on Monday his global priorities: security, the fight against terrorism, "global public goods" (climate, education, development aid …) and, in a more national approach, the attractiveness of the France and the Francophonie.
But since last year, "the world has changed a lot with the rise of nationalisms and the crisis of multilateralism. We must be even more dynamic to adapt to these developments, "recognize the advisers of the Elysee. Embraces and hugs did nothing: Donald Trump scuttled the G7 and the Iran nuclear deal, unleashed a global trade war and demanded massive sums from the Europeans to maintain NATO.
Even within Europe, Hungary, Poland and now Italy are pursuing a Eurosceptic and anti-migrant policy that forces Paris to seek a "progressive arc" to counter them. This summer, a dozen member states had to urgently distribute migrants that Rome refused. Discussions on a long-term coordinated mechanism stumble over Italy's refusal, which threatened Friday to suspend its contribution to the EU budget.
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Aware that the opposition wants to turn next May's European elections into an "anti-Macron referendum", as Jean-Luc Mélenchon has already announced, Emmanuel Macron will also have to demonstrate that his international efforts will directly benefit the French. "There is no break between the reforms in France and international action," according to the Elysee.
"We are more in negotiations on the modalities, as on the budget of the euro area, and less in the big step" than a year ago, analyzes Claire Demesmay, of the German Institute of Foreign Policy. "The big compromises will be completed by the end of 2019. Will he succeed in moving Europe? Questions François Heisbourg, president of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. "He is the only leader in Europe today. Angela Merkel has limited room for maneuver and Europe can only move forward if France and Germany walk together. Macron can not be a leader alone. "
The expert also underlines the need for the French president to establish a dialogue with Rome, indispensable partner. On migrants, on the Europe that protects, "Emmanuel Macron needs results and not just ambitions, to get armed in the European elections," adds Manuel Lafont-Rapnouil, research institute European Council on Foreign Relations .
"When Macron was elected, everyone believed that the populist wave would recede, that with Merkel they would form a formidable tandem that nothing would resist. Nobody expected Merkel's election result to be so bad for her. But it has been a long time since the Franco-German tandem is no longer sufficient to train all of Europe. "
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