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Macron, the enigma

Jerónimo Andreu / Corresponsal
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The French President's resolution could make him Europe's motor

The new French President, Emmanuel Macron, created great expectations during his first international appearances. However, it is still too soon to draw conclusions, said Dr. Adela Alija, Director of the International Relations area of the Nebrija University, to EL UNIVERSAL.


Will Macron help the EU to shake out of its lethargy?

Macron, at the moment, is a mystery. He is referred as “Macron, the enigma.” He has a technical profile and his political approaches are eclectic. The government he has established reflects his will to reconcile positions and save France from its decline. And that will of regeneration extends to his Europeanist position.


Angela Merkel insists on the UE taking over its future before the lack of allies. Does that idea refer to the reestablishment of the Franco-German axis, or Germany enjoys being the EU leader?

The Berlin-Paris axis is essential for Europe. Germany does not seem comfortable with its current role. It needs to share the responsibility of empowering the EU in its current economic, political, and social crisis. Merkel and Macron have expressed their will to invigorate that axis.


Will Macron's resolution withstand Trump, Putin, and Erdogan?

Macron pretends to set positions before the leaders who represent political modes and contents from which he wants to distance himself. His stance of globalism and economic opening in the face of Trump's populist protectionism; his denouncement of Putin's interferences during the French elections, supporting Le Pen, as well as his clear differences in relation to Russia in Ukraine or Syria; the clash with Erdogan regarding media freedom and his usage of the refugees' issue… Macron has made clear that he will not give in even in the smallest of gestures. We will see the course of his stances, for the moment he bets for multilateralism and agreement with his European partners.


Is it a mistake to give importance to Macron's forceful body language when he insists that his meeting with Trump was constructive?

It is not Macron's behavior that results striking, but rather Trump's: questioning alliances and international agreements, isolation and problems with Latin America, taking distance from Europe and all that topped with ways which do not follow the diplomatic codes of good manners.


Can France live up to these expectations, being a country with limited possibilities of setting the agenda?

That strategy can only be sustained in the heart of the European Union. As long as the Franco-German axis works and the EU foreign policy adopts common postures, France's role will become stronger. We cannot be too optimistic: the trajectory of the EU foreign and security policies has shown us the difficulty of achieving a common voice.


Macron seems to prefer the formal and distant style of a President-King. Is that kind of figure possible in the hyper-information age?

Macron is still a mystery. Even if he accumulates experience in the administration, he is a young politician, without a party that backs him up. En Marche! needs to consolidate as a political party option, its “social liberal” condition must be reflected in decisions which perhaps turn out to be surprising. I would not qualify him as a President-King. It is too soon for an analysis. 


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