Foreign correspondent focusing on French and European politics and culture
James McAuley Foreign correspondent focusing on French and European politics and culture November 9 at 15:44 France president Emmanuel Macron…
France president Emmanuel Macron will try to play Europe’s leaders this weekend. 19659004] As the host of more than 60 heads of state for a ceremony and peace stop linked to the centuries of the bloody end of the world war, Macron will have the opportunity to show that he can gather great powers and give voice to the values that bind
the French president, just 40 years old, has long advocated a stronger, renewed European Union and regularly condemns nationalism that spreads across the continent. He is ready to continue the match now when German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that she will leave the scene.
But Europe may be too divided to accept a grand vision pronounced by a single leader and Merkel’s departure can do more to isolate macros than strengthen his standing.
“Europeans are too deeply divided – and on the basis,” says Dominique Moïsi, a foreign policy analyst at Institut Montaigne in Paris and former Macron campaign adviser.
“What you have is a Europe that segments to different tribes,” said Mark Leonard, director of the London-based European Council on Foreign Relations. These segments are multiplied by an increasing number of fractures, he said.
“There is a clear North-South division across the euro crisis and an East-West division of migration and Russia,” he said. . “You also have highly polarized societies in most Member States, meaning that a single leader in Europe is kind of utopian right now.”
Perhaps the biggest issue for Macron’s position in Europe is what will happen after Merkel
The Chancellor of Germany has announced that she will not seek re-election as president of her political party next month or as Germany’s leader when her mandate is by 2021.
Merkel has been a constant European policy since she adopted the 2005 office, released many of her opponents abroad and challenges for her leadership from within.
Without her, Macron will have less competition as the dominant player in Europe, but he will also lose an important political alliance. 19659015] The French-German alliance has been called the EU’s “engine”, the central connection without which the entire European machine would cease to operate. Many of E.U’s latest achievements have been due to productive partnerships over the Rhine: Helmut Kohl and Francois Mitterand in the 1980s and 1990s. and Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy, called “Merkozy” in the early 2010’s.
Macron and Merkel have also had a good partnership. Internal pressure from the more conservative factions in her shaky coalition government forced Merkel to resist some of Macron’s European proposals – in particular, his plans for continued economic integration. But she has been a tireless defender of E.U. then before Macron appeared on stage. Her absence will probably leave Macron on its own to defend an “ever bigger” union.
“The center is not exactly the same as it did,” said Leonard. “It looks like a French-German bunker than a motor.”
There may soon be a single man left in that bunker. Although Merkel succeeds in someone with a similar ideology, that person should undoubtedly receive minor complaints.
“France is a very important [E.U.] member country, but not strong enough to unite other countries with that,” Leonard added.
On the world scene, Macron has already had many disappointments. Despite his efforts to repel President Trump, he looked helpless as the United States resigned from the Paris Climate Agreement and Iraq’s nuclear agreement. Trump will further mitigate the French president by attending the ceremony, but skipping the peace session this weekend.
In France, Macron has successfully pursued a series of audits aimed at liberalizing a well-regulated labor market and stimulating economic growth. But he has paid a huge price in popularity. According to a poll in September by Ifop, a leading French polling agency, his approval rating is 29 percent, less than half of what it was when he was elected in May 2017.
By contrast, Europe’s leading nationalist votes, like Macron, have been publicly challenged on a number of occasions, remain quite popular. Matteo Salvini, Italy’s Interior Minister and De facto Leader, has a 59 percent approval rating, according to a survey released by the Italian newspaper La Repubblica – making Salvini about twice as popular among Italians as Macron is in French.  “He is weakened by the fact that he is orphaned by Merkel,” said Mois, “and he weakened from within his spectacular case.”
A separate Ifop survey published Sunday shows Macro’s party, La République En Marche or the Republic on its way, has less support than France’s right-right Rassemblement National, or National Rally, before the European parliamentary elections from 2019.
” In a way, the summit that opens this weekend will be a bit too late for him, “said Moïsi.
Macron, however, has focused his tone a week on his concern over the recurring populist tribes in Europe and the importance of political integration that he credited with ensuring European prosperity and peace.
In interviews he appealed to the darkest chapters of Europe’s latest history to emphasize his anxiety about his present.
“I’m surprised to see two things similar to the terrible 1930s,” Macron told France’s Europe 1 radio. “The fact that our Europe was shaken by a deep economic and financial crisis … and the emergence of nationalism in fear.”
The point said he is acknowledging the fragility of the European company launched after World War II.
“We Need A Strong Europe, One Who Protects”