Macron proposes to the business manager and a former minister Breton for the European Commission, France blocked the new enlargement of the EU towards the Balkans Macron and Merkel are trying to close ranks to face the challenges of the summit
Emmanuel Macron, elected two and half years ago with a message of europeanism uncomplexed, reaches the middle of his five-year term in an ambivalent position in the European Union. It is the only leader that has at the same time a vision on the future of the continent and the power to try to enforce it. But his rhetoric at times high-flown, and his position on issues such as the expansion of the club, the Brexit or relations with Russia have been broken by consensus, and raised discomfort.
The politician admired in 2017 to stop in France the wave of national-populist, now appears as a european, not skeptical, but reticent and, often, perplexing to some of their partners.
At the rallies of Macron in the campaign that led him to the Elysee Palace, the flags of european flying further and with more fervor than the French. Also the program is turned blue community. At that time, after the recent victory of a Brexit in a referendum of the british, to campaign in favor of the EU could seem a folly.
But the 7 may 2017, Macron defeated the eurosceptic Marine Le Pen, who proposed to pull France of the euro. And the new French president began his term with a battery of bold proposals to refound the club. The injection of europeanism was received with enthusiasm in Brussels after years of eurodepresión caused by the euro crisis, austerity and the Brexit.
Two and a half years later, the ecuador’s five-year presidency coincided with a series of episodes and initiatives that show the Macron under a different light. And even though the fervor for the French continues in a large part of the community institutions, in Brussels there is also disquiet at what some see as postures diehard of France.
The style abrasive Macron, which allowed it to be imposed on traditional political forces in France, has met in Europe with a structure far more resilient and accustomed to a consensus whose rupture is usually to pay very expensive. The lack of understanding with the German Government of Angela Merkel and the head-on collision with the powerful European people’s Party have come to disrupt a good part of the dreams euroentusiastas Macron and to have awakened in him a pragmatism that increases the reluctance towards his figure.
“a Lot of us in the EPP group, we were the first that we welcomed a French president young, dynamic and pro-european,” recalls Manfred Weber, president of the popular group in the European Parliament, in a statement to THE COUNTRY. “However”, adds Weber, “Macron has failed to muster adequate support within the EU institutions to carry out their ideas”.
Weber, who suffered in July, the rejection of Macron to his candidacy for the presidency of the European Commission, blames the failure of the French to his efforts to seek confrontation instead of joining forces. “There are a lot of people in the European Council and the European Parliament that could support many of the ideas of Macron, but it never will if the method to implement them is to stand up to other political forces in place to seek consensus and common ground”, concludes Weber.
The frustration of Macron at the lack of progress in the reform of the EU and the unrest reigning in Paris for what is considered a betrayal of Berlin (which had been committed to collaborating in the european project in exchange of structural reforms undertaken in France) have thinned even more the environment. And have led the French president to harden their positions in Brussels even at the risk of disconcert its allies more pro-european.
The veto Macron to the opening of the negotiations for the access to the EU with Macedonia to the North and Albania in the last European Council is the most recent case of this apparent rotation. But there is more. The French plan of rapprochement with the Russia of Vladimir Putin is concerned in some former soviet bloc countries and causes distrust by its open character ‘gaullist’, that is to say, in defense of France as a power mediator, in the tradition of General de Gaulle.
To play the role of bad cop in the negotiations with the Brexit, Macron has also assumed the risk of being in Brussels the new Coach does Not or Monsieur Non. His angry response to the rejection in the European Parliament to the candidate in French at the Commission, Sylvie Goulard, reinforced the traditional image of the French leaders who, under a wrapper of rhetoric, pro-european, concealing the promotion of the national interest. This position is also evidence in the defense of a european industrial policy in front of the giant chinese and american, a thesis that collides head-on with the thesis prevailing in the department of Competition of the European Commission.
The mep Iratxe Garcia, the president of the socialist group in the European Parliament, believes that “the europeanism of Macron has proven to be just as opportunistic as their way of understanding politics.” In statements to this newspaper, Garcia regrets the veto of Macron to the opening of negotiations with Albania and Macedonia North “despite the fact that these countries have complied with the reforms that were asked”. The socialist leader accuses the French of being “`a little responsible because he has put in danger the stability of the Balkans”.
Guntram Wolf, director of the studies center Bruegel in Brussels, welcomed that “the president Macron has given a great impetus to the debate on the future of Europe (…) and, on the whole, has given a renewed energy to the project of integration, much-needed”. But Wolf also acknowledges that “their ideas of high-flying have been met with much resistance and with little enthusiasm in some parts of the north of Europe, and even in the European Parliament, which at times has felt forced”.
The supporters of Macron suggest that the apparent derailment of the big dreams of re-launching the EU should not be to the strategy of French but rather in Berlin. “Much of what has been advanced in Europe these two and a half years should be the president of the Republic. I think that there have been many factors blocking but that did not come from France but in many cases in Germany”, said the French mp, Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade, responsible of European Affairs in the executive of The Republic in March (LREM), the party of Macron.
“In the case of the expansion,” explained Anglade, “we see how there is a dysfunction in Europe. We have not even begun the process of re-establishment: end of the euro zone, the banking union, have a european budget ambitious and modes of decision function. Before I expand more is there to be able to delve into Europe”.
The French mp explained the position of the Macron favorable to culminate quickly the Brexit with the same argument: the priority is to reform the EU. “While is not the Brexit, we can not reform. And many european countries, and Germany in particular, will hide behind the Brexit for not reforming the Union,” he says. “The analysis according to which Emmanuel Macron is less europhile than two and half years ago is false. Emmanuel Macron is so pro-european as it was then and tries to defend the sovereignty and the unity of Europe in a time that is questioned by many member states and populists, nationalists and demagogues”.
Weber advocates seek a response to issues such as immigration, climate change, digitalization or globalization. “But the response just may not be French because there are 28 countries in the EU, and we all have points of view and different interests in each subject. The challenge is to find european solutions of truth and not solutions, the franco-european”, he shoots the leader of the conservatives in the parliament.
The same criticism coming from the bench socialist, a coincidence that for the supporters of Macron responds to the challenge that the liberals represent in this legislature for the two families traditional dominant that, for the first time, do not have a majority in the European Parliament. But Garcia assures that the criticisms are justified because “the twists Macron affect areas that are very sensitive in Europe, as we have just seen with the immigration, in which he announced quotas after they criticized”.
Macron, to allies and adversaries, he begins to work as a pro-european unorthodox, atypical for their willingness to proclaim her faith openly pro-european, but also faithful example —and more perfect, if possible— a tradition very French.
“you Have a traditional view of Europe, that has defended France since always. It is the vision of a Europe that is efficient in both the economic and influential in the political. That is to say, a Europe as a global power. It is not a federal Europe, but not intergovernmental in the sense of a sum of nation-states”, says Nicole Gnesotto, vice president of the Institute Jacques Delors. “Is inscribed in the French tradition, but simply puts more conviction, more courage and more energy than others,” he adds.
“this Is the most pro-european of leaders of european countries today”, says Jean-Dominique Giuliani, president of Robert Schuman Foundation. “In France it is criticized that it is too pro-european”, he adds.
Anglade exemplifies that europeanism risky with the trip Macron to China this week, “as the French head of State and flag bearer of Europe”. She was accompanied by a minister of germany, a european commissioner and German entrepreneurs.
A Macron will also favor the economic and political context. France —thanks in part to that, is no less dependent on exports than other countries, and in part because the reforms Macron begin to take effect— it reduces unemployment and it seems protected for now current adverse international. And the removal of the chancellor, Angela Merkel in Germany and the Brexit have created a vacuum among the powers of the EU.
“he Is the only candidate, between quotation marks, to occupy the position of leadership, and the europeans hate it that the leadership is French,” says Gnesotto. “A leadership franco-German it is still acceptable, but when France becomes the only one who has ideas and makes proposals, we will make you pay expensive”.
Man and businessman to challenge the European Parliament
Emmanuel Macron is not arredra after the brutal clash with the European Parliament, which rejected Sylvie Goulard, candidate to the French european commissioner. The French president has designated as a relay to Thierry Breton, a senior executive with many, many more potential conflicts of interest that they are challenged to Goulard. And in addition, there is a man, which helps to break the goal of a European Commission joint defended by a good part of the meps. “Macron has not understood their role in the process of appointments to the new Commission,” the critical Iratxe García, the leader of the Socialist group in the European Parliament. “Her blood pressure for the Parliament to approve the nomination of Goulard was out of place and, of course, failed”. The appointment of Breton has not liked to the part of the parliament. On the left bothers me that Macron has chosen a wealthy executive, with a past full of senior positions in public and private companies. And not like you did not opt for a woman or, at least, would have offered two options (candidate-candidate) as requested by the president-elect of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Bet Paris is that the Parliament did not dare refuse a second candidate. The outcome, in the next few weeks.