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When Macron snubs Donald Trump and delights Angela Merkel

When Macron and Merkel play a good trick on Trump who remains baba (Images: NATO / B2 sequencing)

(B2) The video of Emmanuel Macron's arrival at the headquarters of the Atlantic Alliance is formidable in terms of political symbolism. The French president does not walk with the others, he goes to meet the others, as if he were the host of the meeting. Arrival late than the others (due to appointments at the European Commission (read: Special NATO meeting (May 25, 2017): above all a face to face EU-United States), guided by one of the managers of the protocol of NATO (1), he seems to be running off to greet Donald Trump who is waiting for him... (we even hear a little Marseille song sung a cappella).

A subliminal message to the American president: Europe first !

But, at the last moment, in a movement that does not seem completely improvised, he turns towards Angela Merkel. Which leaves the American billionaire, smug and a little pale, who expected to corner him with his legendary handshake (read: Handshake: challenge met for Macron). A bit like you can do with a guest at a party who behaves badly, Emmanuel Macron ignores him. He comes to ostensibly hug Angela Merkel, all smiles, in a rather irreverent and complicit wink from the two leaders. The message from the Franco-German couple to the American president seems clear: America is not alone in the world, the Europeans are there, their Union is important and must not be despised.


A new showdown with the president

The French president should normally have joined the procession – without arguing. This detour annoys another protocol official who seeks to bring the Frenchman back into line (2). But it still lingers somewhat, in the outposts. He greets the Secretary General of NATO and then the Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, then ostensibly turning his back on the American president and thus delaying the moment to greet him. And it is only then (in 4th position) that he will shake hands, arm wrestling type, with the American president. This one, faithful to his tradition, tries to pull him towards him. But the “French guy” resists, even puts his hand on his arm (like “get off me”). He then enters the ranks of heads of state, accompanied by a little tap on the shoulder of the American head of state as if to say: “well done kid”.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) who has a beard like Edouard Philippe

(2) Emmanuel Macron should normally have lined up discreetly behind the other leaders and not made a singular face to face.

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Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).