Emmanuel Macron hammered home the message, Thursday, December 9, at the Elysee Palace: Europe must give itself the means to be “Powerful in the world” and “Fully sovereign”. Less than a month from the start of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU), from 1is January 2022, the reality of the continental balance of power risks testing the ambition outlined by the French president. The massive deployment of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine remains a threat taken very seriously, despite signals from ” de-escalation “ sent Tuesday, at the end of the conversation between the President of the United States, Joe Biden, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Poutine. Before this meeting, American officials had warned of a risk of invasion of Ukraine in early 2022.
During his press conference, the Head of State welcomed this recent virtual summit between the two leaders, although its holding, at the request of Mr. Putin, highlights the relative powerlessness of Europeans in the face of Russia, seven years after the unilateral annexation of Crimea. The Twenty-Seven are still unable to manage their neighborhood without the intervention of the United States. Mr. Macron assured that, speaking to both Ukraine and Russia, it was necessary to contribute as much as possible to the ” de-escalation “ initiated, among other things, by threats of US sanctions.
Mr. Macron was also delighted that the American president had, this time, taken the time to consult his European allies, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, before and after having conversed with his counterpart. Russian. “It is a very good thing that Biden has found it useful to coordinate with his European partners”, he said. An attitude that contrasts with the hasty and poorly concerted withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan this summer, which took the Europeans by surprise and shook the Atlantic Alliance.
“The conflict remains frozen”
If these European capitals want to be less alarmist than Washington on Russian-Ukrainian tensions, they are nonetheless on their guard. “The conflict remains frozen”, recalled Mr. Macron. The question was to be on the lunch menu between the Head of State and the new German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, received Friday at the Elysee Palace, for his first trip outside Germany. Mr. Macron also announced that he would meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on December 15 in Brussels, in the presence of Mr. Scholz. The head of state should speak again on the phone with Mr. Putin ” next week “. The appointment was not yet fixed, Wednesday.
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Ukraine: French President pleads for dialogue with Moscow