Emmanuel Macron as the Undisputed Leader in Europe

Emmanuel Macron is arguing for a more hard-nosed European position on global issues and a pragmatic relationship with Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. This will not lead to a sudden love in with Moscow but there is a possibility of a slight warming in relations between Europe and Russia, writes Fraser Cameron, Director of the EU-Asia Centre and a Senior Advisor to the European Policy Centre in Brussels.

Macron is on a high, chairing a tricky G7 summit at Biarritz with great skill and determination. With Merkel on a slow boat to retirement and the Brits out of the game, Macron is the undisputed leader in Europe.

So why then did he talk about the end of Western hegemony? On the one hand he was being realistic with the economic centre of the world steadily shifting towards Asia, although Asia itself is beset with huge security problems from Kashmir to Korea.

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What is the “West”? Is there still the West as such - in light of Britain’s exit from the EU and the US drift towards unilateral approaches? This question is of concern to many now - mainly in Old Europe. If initially the European Union was created out of fear of the USSR, now it has to dissociate itself from the United States.
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On the other hand, he was issuing a cry to fellow liberals that it was time to unite and defend traditional Western values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law in the face of an increasing trend towards autocratic regimes. To do this, Macron believes the EU must develop the hard power capabilities to back up its soft power and the magnet of its single market, still the biggest in the world.

And despite smooching with Trump in Biarritz, Macron believes that the US president is on the wrong track with his disengagement from international agreements, whether Iran, climate or trade. Like most Europeans, he hopes for a Democratic victory in next year’s US election but as this is far from certain Europe must prepare itself for the continuation of a rogue regime in Washington, as well as regimes opposed to traditional Western values in Beijing and Moscow.

Macron is arguing for a more hard-nosed European position on global issues and a pragmatic relationship with Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin. This will not lead to a sudden love in with Moscow but there is a possibility of a slight warming in relations between Europe and Russia.
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