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Emmanuel Macron: why he calls for willingness to act in Ukraine

Emmanuel Macron: why he calls for willingness to act in Ukraine

Emmanuel Macron is arming himself after a crisis meeting in Paris – at least verbally. With his demands, France’s president risks breaking with his close partner Germany. But he cares about something bigger.

The summit itself was his idea, so perhaps we could have guessed something. On Monday, over 25 heads of state and government representatives met at Emmanuel Macron’s official residence for a crisis discussion. On the agenda is the question: How can Ukraine be supported and defended against Putin? And through the European Union – even without the USA?

At the Elysée Palace, the conference was called “truly momentous” before it had even begun. The journalists learned at the briefing that they were now showing determination instead of tiredness. Putin will not win in Ukraine.

A mental turning point for Europe

That sounded very different from the usual worry rhetoric. And that’s what it should be: host Emmanuel Macron wants to herald a mental turning point for Europe. No more eternal defeatism, no more paralyzing doubts. France’s head of state has been taking a much tougher tone towards Moscow for a long time. “We will do everything necessary to ensure that Russia cannot win this war,” he said at the end of the conference.

stern reporter Moritz Gathmann

So far, so consensus. Even after this evening, there was no concrete answer to the question of what “everything necessary” should be. What became clear, however, was that Emmanuel Macron was putting pressure on him. In France, symbolic politics is important and the very fact that all the heads of state come together in the Élysée and show that they are ready to act together is a signal. In addition, France is siding with Poland and the Baltic countries more clearly than ever before.

Olaf Scholz doesn’t want to send “Taurus” cruise missiles? Then France will continue to send “scalps” and form a coalition with other countries for long-range weapons. Olaf Scholz is afraid of becoming a “war party”? Macron always emphasizes that France is already a target of the Kremlin in the form of disinformation and cyber attacks. “The defeat of Russia is essential for Europe’s security and stability,” he said on Monday. Would he also be willing to send Western soldiers to Ukraine? Nothing should be excluded, said Macron. A message to Moscow.

Eurobonds for arming the EU?

With his appearance, the French president is signaling that it is not enough to think about when a red line might be crossed for Putin. Europe must “break up” – and rearm. How is that supposed to work? It is no secret that Macron supports the proposal of Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. For some time now, they have been calling for an EU investment fund to jointly finance the defense apparatus and support for Kiev: Eurobonds for arming the EU.

Macron was already a driving force behind this model during the corona pandemic. At that time, the EU threw its entire weight into the balance for the first time and took on joint debt to deal with the crisis.

At least Macron has ideas

From a German perspective, Macron is often seen as an eloquent pusher who throws rhetorical balls into the room for the others to play with. And he is seen as someone who wants to spend a lot of money on big ideas. However, one also has to say: Macron at least has ideas. In his dazzling speeches it always sounds as if Europe is a continent of unlimited possibilities – if only the old motto of the Three Musketeers were heeded a little more closely: One for all, all for one. From the French perspective, it’s all about political will. And then about money.

Unfortunately, the time pressure proves Macron right: it is foreseeable that the USA will not be able to finance Ukraine’s fight against Putin in the long term, nor will it want to. And the example of the Bundeswehr shows how difficult it is for even the wealthiest state in the EU to get its army up to speed.

Eurobonds or an equivalent instrument could be a first and, above all, practical way out of this dilemma. Support for this comes, among others, from EU Commissioner Thierry Breton. Years ago, the Frenchman proposed the establishment of a European defense fund in order to accelerate the production of armaments. Germany has not yet taken a clear position on the issue of Eurobonds or a comparable mechanism. Macron has made it clear what direction he believes Europe needs to take: “We are not at war with the Russian people, but we don’t want to let them win in Ukraine.”

De-escalation sounds different. Now the main thing will be what follows this symbolic serve. It was said that Olaf Scholz left after the conference without comment.

Source: Stern

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