Macron in Strasbourg: Big ambitions, tangible in reality

Macron in Strasbourg: Big ambitions, tangible in reality

Swollen language was not entirely absent. When Emmanuel Macron addressed the European Parliament on Wednesday morning, the talk was of a “return of tragedy in history”, a “common passion of our European treasures” and an “elusive guide to peace”. But compared to the great European speeches he gave before, the French president in Strasbourg this time was remarkably calm and already palpable.

The ambitions that Macron set out for the French presidency of the European Union (the next six months) are great, but instead of expectations, the president was able to point out very concrete proposals that France wants to achieve in the coming months. It is customary for a country to preside over the European agenda to give it a special touch. But the fact that France is now doing so well at this illustrates the amount of legislation in the pipeline for the European Union that fits perfectly with the French agenda. Europe has recently become more “French” after Brexit and in a more hostile geopolitical environment, and Macron may reap the benefits over the next six months.

On Wednesday, for example, he was able to point to new EU legislation restricting large US tech companies that France would like to complete in March. or to ‘CO2Border tax, which is part of the European Climate Program but France is now giving it an extra boost. Or a plan to anchor and harmonize the minimum wage more vigorously in the European context.

All existing European plans, but at the same time they fit perfectly into the “more independent”, more powerful and at the same time socially envisaged by Macron.

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The French president is also in a hurry. If he succeeds in finalizing the proposals in March, he could still make significant gains in his country during his election campaign. The first ballot box will be held in April. This high pressure is already causing confusion among MEPs and diplomats in Brussels. Those involved fear that the laws will be pushed through purely public relations purposes and that much remains unclear about the finer details and details.

The Ukraine crisis and relations with Russia saved Macron to the end. Macron spoke, quite calmly, for dialogue, noting that there was still room for weeks to deliberate on a common European position. At the same time, he left no doubt that the agreements concluded between Russia and the West thirty years ago are still valid. Anyone who violates these agreements must be effectively punished.

Macron has been calling for dialogue with Russia for years. History and geography link the European Union and Russia. Our continent is indivisible. We need this dialogue.”

After the fall of the wall, the West made agreements with Russia on the division of power within Europe and the principles that go along with them: borders are inviolable, states are sovereign, spheres of influence no longer exist. Europe must now stand up for these principles: anyone who violates these principles can count on sanctions.

In the coming weeks, Europe will have to come up with proposals for a new order of security and stability. The French president wants to work on these proposals first with other European countries, to discuss them within NATO and then enter into negotiations with Russia.

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Read also: Macron uses the presidency of the European Union as a trump card

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