December 02, 2022 10:36
If Americans have not yet understood Emmanuel Macron’s “en même temps” (in the meantime) approach, which has become his “ideological signature,” they certainly did on the occasion of his official visit to the United States.
On the first day of his stay, November 30, Macron uttered very harsh words regarding the US policy of subsidizing American companies, which he deemed “too aggressive” and even likely to “break the West”. Some anxious American friends immediately called me to ask if Macron had any intention of going confrontational with these words.
But here came the change of tone the next day: Macron spoke at length about the centuries-old friendship between France and the United States, forged in blood, with a promise of “sincerity,” “frankness,” and “strategic clarity” on the argument of contention, i.e. the law of limitation. of inflation, which until the day before was considered an act of “protectionism”.
What happened in the meantime? Was Macron’s communication strategy in two stages? Or has Joe Biden already provided the expected answers? In fact, the explanation lies elsewhere.
The answer is, in fact, in Europe. The French delegation certainly had no illusions about its ability to influence an already-voted US law that counts among the successes of the Biden administration: nearly $400 billion in aid for US re-industrialization and environmental transformation.
By dramatizing the situation in Washington, Macron wants to provoke the awakening of Europe
Macron’s remarks were certainly more aimed at the Europeans than Joe Biden, sorry to upset allies, but they were not enough to change his policy. In the coming weeks there will be European-American consultations to “coordinate” (keyword) economic decisions on both sides of the Atlantic, but that is not the relevant point.
“We have to do something as Europeans, to advance as Europeans,” Macron said during the December 1 press conference in Washington. The French president even joked that we could not hope to solve our “European problems” with US law. And here the difficulties begin.
France is pushing for the adoption of a “European Purchase Act,” a law for buying European products that could respond to US protectionism, not in the form of a trade war — the Union has no interest in that, especially in a full-blown war in Ukraine — but for global action by the G7. Twenty shall be the level of risk, neither more nor less than the risk of deindustrialization in Europe.
The problem is that Germany is conservative, or rather, the coalition in Berlin is as divided as it is in other areas. The same applies to the European Commission.
By raising the situation in Washington, Macron wants to provoke the awakening of Europe, above all after he obtained from Biden a guarantee that Washington would not consider any “European purchase” as a declaration of economic war. In essence, we’re hitting three shores across the Atlantic.
Against the ostentatious backdrop of Washington, Macron’s message was actually aimed at the Europeans. We will soon find out if it has been implemented.
(Translated by Andrea Sparcino)