The Macron Doctrine

A Conversation with the French President

As the year 2020 draws to a close, with crises accumulating in France and Europe, the French President, in one of his longest interviews, outlined the main elements of his new doctrine on international affairs with le Grand Continent.

You can also read this interview in Le Grand Continent, the journal published by the Groupe d’études géopolitiques, in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Polish.

2020 is drawing to a close. Between immediate emergency management and long-term vision, what is the current direction for you today ?
As you said, 2020 has been marked by crises. Obviously, the Covid-19 pandemic but also terrorism, which has returned with great force in recent months across Europe and in Africa. I refer in particular to this terrorism, called Islamist, but which is in the name of an ideology that distorts a religion.

These crises come in addition to all the challenges we already had, and which were, I would say, structural : climate change, biodiversity, the fight against inequalities – and therefore the untenability of inequalities between our societies and within our societies – as well as the great digital transformation. We are at a time in the history of humanity when we have rarely seen such an accumulation of short-term crises, such as the pandemic and terrorism, and profound, transformative transitions, which are changing international life and even having anthropological impacts : I am referring to climate change, as well as the technological transition that is changing the way we look at the world, as we have seen again recently, which is completely shaking up the relationship between the inside, the outside and our representations of the world.

In the face of this, and you are right to talk about direction, there is, I believe, very deeply, a guiding thread, which is that we need to reinvent the forms of international cooperation. One of the characteristics of all these crises is that humanity experiences them differently depending on location, but we are all confronted with these great transitions and intermittent crises at the same time. In order to resolve them in the best possible way, we need to cooperate. We will not beat the pandemic and this virus if we do not cooperate. Even if some people discover a vaccine, if it is not distributed throughout the world, the virus will return in places. To fight terrorism, which has hit us all : let’s not forget that more than 80 % of the victims of this Islamist terrorism come from the Muslim world, as we have seen again in Mozambique in recent days. We face these crises together. For me, the first international objective is to look for ways to usefully cooperate : our work on the virus with the Act-A mechanism, what we have been working on with respect to terrorism by building new coalitions, and our relentless work on the major issues I have just mentioned.

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