Blog AnalysisEuropean policy

The first failure of the French presidency. Russians and Americans negotiate European security. Macron will do the kakou in Nice

(B2) The first ten days of the French presidency of the Council of the European Union have passed. Two major events are taking place in the East. And nothing. Otherwise a few nice words. And no concrete proposal. Which is worrying for a presidency which will in reality only count 100 days.

The chairs facing the sea, symbol of the Promenade des Anglais, but also of a European absence (credit: City of Nice)

An electoral presidency already rinsed

Before Christmas, the trumpets were out. We would see what we would see ! The French presidency of the Council of the European Union was in the starting blocks. Ready to roar to defend Europe's place in the world and promote strategic autonomy (read: Emmanuel Macron launches the PFUE. Sovereignty at the top of the poster). Christmas and New Year have passed. And we can only be surprised by the atmosphere of inertia which seems to grip the Élysée, in the face of two major events in the European geopolitical neighborhood. As if she already had no more spring.

Moscow puts a treaty proposal on the table…, France simper

The Russian proposal for a new European security framework and the Americans' desire to negotiate was, however, an excellent opportunity to put this famous “European sovereignty” into practice. We will mainly be content with empty sentences. The situation " requires the European Union to be able to propose its vision of things, act and sit around the table with stakeholders to move forward on this subject “says Emmanuel Macron receiving Ursula von der Leyen in Paris on Friday (January 7). He does promise a proposal on " a European security architecture ". But without any specific date. The French president, who we knew more vividly, is late for a war.

Washington takes up the gauntlet. Europe thinks and watches the trains go by

The first negotiations have already begun between the Russians and the Americans. They formally open this Sunday in Geneva. Between the two Greats. Without the Europeans, who remained silent. In fact, we have not yet heard any counter-proposal. The Europeans will, in fact, only have fixed their position on the European security architecture… at the end of March. Either very late. Too late. And again, for what B2 knows, you shouldn't expect anything too sensational. The Strategic Compass, as we read it, is a nice, interesting text, but rather general, and ultimately far below the challenges of the new world that is emerging. Its unraveling has already begun (read: The first strategic compass text. A few key points. The differences weigh).

Russia puts its pre-square in order

Asked about the riots and repression in Kazakhstan, the French president is content, once again, with a few witticisms: “ We are concerned, vigilant, ready and mobilized to be active ". And that's all ! He refers the rest to his neighbor Ursula von der Leyen. But the President of the European Commission does not have much to offer. “I am following the situation with concern. […] the violence must stop. » To end with a pirouette, in the form of an admission of helplessness: “ The European Union will help where it can. » Meanwhile, Russian special forces (particularly from the 45th Spetnaz airborne brigade), Belarusian, Armenian, etc. board planes, ready to intervene in Kazakhstan to restore order (sorry, for “ maintain peace ").

A superb failure

The French president had two superb opportunities to demonstrate how he could put into practice his ideas on the " european power ". He didn't do anything about it. Unlike his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, who in 2008 jumped on the plane to Moscow at the announcement of the intervention in Georgia (1), he did not know how to seize the wind of history. As if already rinsed by the electoral campaign that he is leading alongside his European job. Monday, when the Russians and Americans will negotiate, the “ president of Europe » will also be in the Alpes-Maritimes, to inaugurate the Nice police headquarters. In a more domestic role. A visit which is mainly due to the fact that the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, showed his support. The European at the helm of Europe turns out to be in fact a simple prefect...

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) Read on the French presidency of 2008, our complete file No. 90. A look back at the French presidency of the EU in 2008. Marked by crises. Vibrant. A simple statement of events, put in context, is enough to understand the gap in quality between the Sarkozy presidency, which was (in the opinion of everyone, even the most skeptical about France), a “great moment” of the European history, and the Macron presidency, which looks more like a major communications exercise for a junior company.

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).

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