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Europe: Macron's lesson

It is not by chance that Emmanuel Macron is being received in the USA as the leader of Europe.

Since his election a year ago, which saved France from a populist catastrophe that others have not been able to deflect, he has constantly offered the old continent the vital leap forward that it needs. By stepping up proposals for reform, providing France as an example, by developing intelligent, firm, open and yet committed diplomacy, which speaks to everybody, but concedes nothing, he has already moved the European playing field and debate is no longer the same. Although he stands out amongst sterile, and largely outdated discourse, and is obviously encountering traditional conservatism, through his pro-active approach, he typifies a dynamic Europe....

.... because for Europe inertia is no longer an option.  

The euro must finally be given greater support by its members, who in the event of a crisis, would in all events be forced to do so out of their own interest. The security and defence of Europe are now a strong demand on the part of the citizens, to which the States must respond and not leave in the hands of others. Migration, as well as the social issues are inevitable. Europe has to think of itself as a power and act as such in the international arena, defending and promoting its own cultural, political and economic interests. This is what the populations of Europe are expecting.

It has to be admitted however that the task is not an easy one for the French President, who at best gathers scepticism from the observers, and at worst upsets the national calculations of some others. European Parliament did welcome him politely but political party preferences gained the upper hand. This is quite normal at domestic level, but not at European level.

With hindsight we see that only real men of State have been able to gauge the challenges facing Europe correctly, of being - as we now say - sufficiently "disruptive" to enable the achievement of real progress. Robert Schuman, Jean Monnet, and many of those that followed, were like this ... and were successful in the process.

The goals put forward by the French president are those that will help the European Union avoid further difficulties caused by its timidity. Diffident, quibbling over the means and the institutions, European governments and political parties must be careful. They are facing proposal that should remind them of the Founding Fathers and which are welcomed, including in places beyond our borders.

Are they trying to provoke France into causing angry clashes of which it is capable, and which will shake the entire edifice?

E. Macron is playing fairly, courageously. He wants to transform his country, but he also want to contribute to the transformation of Europe, and to do this he has been given a mandate by his fellow countrymen and women. Preventing him from doing this would be tantamount to suicide, lending credit to the idea that the Europeans are resting on their laurels. The soft quilt of scepticism, reflecting its energy, seems to be a rather bad choice, but debate has now been launched.

There remains then the Franco-German couple? Will rise to the challenge? Word from across the Rhine does not seem very positive. Why change when everything is going well? But quite so - we have to because this will not last!

How should we spell it out in German to convince Europe's leading economy of the fragility of a Europe that it shares with its partners? Germany must also recognise that its geostrategic environment is in turmoil.

It is time to move and adapt. Europeans have little time to show that they have understood this. And it is good if the head of State which created the European project shakes them up a bit. It is his role to assume that of his country. This in itself is a true success. Let's hope that others do the same rather than oppose him. Then, real discussion will be possible, and if necessary, compromises will be made.