Is France Shifting towards Moscow? French Media Hail Macron’s Moves Away From US Anti-Russian Policies
French media applauded newly elected President Emmanuel Macron’s summit Monday in Versailles with Russian President Vladimir Putin. This enthusiasm was all the more significant as the newspapers made little effort to hide the fact that Macron was shifting towards Moscow despite Washington’s open hostility to Russia.
“In the finery of the castle of Versailles,” Le Monde wrote in its editorial yesterday, “France wanted on Monday, May 29, to start a new, better course in its relations with Russia. And that was a good thing.” It rejoiced that “At NATO, with Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, like with Vladimir Putin in Versailles, Mr. Macron set the tone.”
The editorial pointed to the close links between Macron’s overtures to Russia and the growing tensions between the United States and the European Union (EU), and above all Germany. These took the most overt form in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s statement this weekend that, after Britain’s exit from the EU and the election of Donald Trump as US president, continental Europe would have to fight for its future alone, without relying on Washington and London.
Le Monde hailed Macron’s
“will to seize a ‘European moment.’ ” It added, “Between Brexit and the mercantilist isolationism of Donald Trump, highlighted this week by Angela Merkel, the EU must close ranks and reinforce its own identity on the great issues of the day: Ukraine, Syria, global warming.”
This analysis was shared, with minor variations, by newspapers of all political colours. The right-wing Le Figaro explained that the two presidents aimed to “revive diplomatic relations between their two countries” and applauded Macron’s timing:
“Macron also capitalised on an international situation favourable to France. Faced with Putin, he was free to act: the UK is out of the picture since Brexit, the United States is unpredictable since Donald Trump’s election, and Germany is busy preparing its upcoming elections.”