Foreign Policy of the President of France E. Macron: Pragmatism behind The Mask of Atlantism?

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Senior Researcher, Department for European Political Studies.
Affiliation: Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO)
Address: Moscow, Russian Federation
Affiliation: Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO)
Address: Russian Federation
Journal nameMirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia
EditionVolume 62 Issue 12

Since E. Maсron’s accession to power, the foreign policy of France has begun to evolve. Although the sharp change did not occur in it owing to the proximity of ideological views of E. Macron and F. Hollande, some innovations could be noted. The most remarkable shift is the change of the Paris’ foreign policy style. The new president being a more charismatic and energetic leader represents the younger generation and symbolizes a renewal of the French diplomacy, a kind of “revitalization” of the French policy in the world. Mr. Macron is a globalist president who demonstrates his readiness to defend not only French interests, but also the EU and common Western values. While his main efforts are aimed at the implementation of domestic reforms, foreign policy is to strengthen the president’s positions within the country. As a supporter of multilateralism, E. Macron strongly endeavors to increase the role of France in various regions of the world intensifying relations with different countries (Russia, India, Australia), mediating in conflict situations (Middle East) and actively using multilateral formats (Africa). This way, such practice objectively brings the modern world closer to multipolarity. At the same time, the French president is ready for an active dialogue with the USA, China and Russia. In this case, the ideological, value aspect is shifted to the background, whereas pragmatism and “real politics” come out at first. Thus, E. Macron not only inscribes himself among the key leaders of the contemporary world, but also demonstrates flexibility and rejection of some dogmatism inherent to his predecessor. Euro-Atlantic rhetoric does not prevent the French president from having a “business approach” to solve a number of political problems, focusing on practical projects (Russia, China and Africa). Despite his willingness to negotiate with ambitious partners, E. Macron is ready to demonstrate force to confirm his aspirations when it is profitable for him. This is evidenced by his idea of the European Intervention Initiative, by his decisions to continue the military operation in Mali and to take part in the U.S. military action against Damascus in April 2018. The new appearance of the French foreign policy is designed to keep the place of the country among the great powers of the 21st century and to respond to new challenges while the current world order established after 1991 is apparently undergoing serious changes.

KeywordsFrance, Emmanuel Macron, French foreign policy, European Union, Donald Trump, Syria, Iran, Africa, China, French-Russian relations.
Publication date14.01.2019
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