French President Macron to attend World Cup Semifinal, further isolates UK leadership
President’s Macron’s decision is as promised, but visibility of forthcoming trip to Russia continues to isolate and embarrass Great Britain
TASS News Agency reported on Friday July 6 that French President Emmanuel Macron plans to travel to Russia to attend the semifinal match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. France advanced to this stage in the tournament, so the nation’s leader wants to be there.
A June 8th piece on Deutsche Welle, a German-state funded news site, discussed the matter of the European nations and their response to the games being held this month in Russia. A number of leaders took politically calculated stances, such as Great Britain, Ukraine and Germany, and even the French leader said that he would only go if his nation’s team made it to the semifinals.
However, the truly incredible success of Russia’s presentation of the World Cup tournament is garnering more and more international attention. Even the American hawkish National Security Adviser, congratulated President Vladimir Putin in person on the success of this international tournament, with Mr. Putin’s reply offering to help the US manage the event when it comes to North America in 2026.
The World Cup is presenting several world leaders with a real quandary. Show up, and they may be accused of playing into President Vladimir Putin’s hands at a time of severe tension with Russia on several fronts.
German Green party politician Rebecca Harms is one of 59 Members of the European Parliament who have written an open letter urging all heads of state and government not to visit.
“They should stay away from the stadiums in Russia, because they will be instrumentalized by President Putin,” Harms tells DW. “I’m also convinced that we have a lot to talk about with Vladimir Putin. And we should do this right away, in the proper places, with serious diplomatic talks on Iran, on Syria, on Ukraine. But the football is more Putin’s instrument to get legitimization for all his wrongdoings, in the eyes of Russia’s people, by being joined by Western politicians.”