Ihe conversion is spectacular, especially if it were to be confirmed in practice. For a month, and his speech in Bratislava, Emmanuel Macron has initiated a double European and Atlantic moult, likely to restore the authority lost by the host of the Elysée Palace on the continent since the start of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. The Head of State, whose positions have often disconcerted, even exceeded the allies of kyiv, undertook to surprise them again, by revising some of its positions, under the pressure of Ukrainian and Russian events. There is no doubt that this update, begun well before the aborted rebellion of the Wagner Group in Russia this weekend, should weigh on the discussions of the heads of state and government of the Twenty-Seven, Thursday 29 and Friday 30 June, in Brussels.
The first fundamental development concerns the European Union and its enlargement. While France, from François Mitterrand to Nicolas Sarkozy, has always tried to curb the accession of new members from the late Soviet bloc, by insisting on the prerequisite of deepening community construction, Emmanuel Macron now intends to strengthen their European stowage. “The question for us is not whether we should expand; not even when we have to do it – for me it is as soon as possible – but how we have to do it »launched the Head of State in Bratislava, during the Globsec conference on continental security.
In this spirit, France should plead for the opening of accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova from the end of 2023, as demanded by the two countries, which have been officially candidates for barely a year. Mr. Macron justifies this reversal by a concern “geopolitics”, noting that Ukraine and Moldova defend European values in the face of threats from Vladimir Putin’s Russia. And must be integrated into Europe, like the Western Balkans, to escape Russian and/or Chinese interference. Thus, the French president is no longer reluctant to speak of a Union of 35 members, not without insisting on reforming its functioning. The Elysée intends to make proposals in this direction by October, hoping to no longer be accused of delaying maneuvers, since Paris now wants “accelerate” enlargement.
The second shift, more discreet but no less fundamental, concerns the prospect of Ukraine joining NATO, which France is now cherishing as a means of encouraging the Russian and Ukrainian enemies to negotiate, on a very uncertain, post-war. “We dangle a prospect of joining NATO to encourage Russians and Ukrainians to sit down at the negotiating table”, explains a diplomatic source.
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