Sylvie Kauffmann, editorial director and columnist at Le Monde, opines on the ‘trustworthiness’ of Emmanuel Macron, in The Financial Times,

The Neo-Liberalizer of France is too cozy with Putin ?

Before I begin with the essay of Kaufmann, let me quote from Wolfgang Streeck’s essay on Europe of January 7, 2022:

In fact, the French political class seems increasingly disillusioned with the preferred German route to ‘Europe’, which it sees less and less as leading toward a ‘European sovereignty’ modelled on the French that can be projected worldwide.  Instead the impression is growing that integration by law would end in nothing better than government by bureaucracy supervised by a supranational legal expertocracy – suited perhaps to building an international neoliberal market but unable to found an imperial state capable of acting on a global scale. Indications are that recent political pronunciamientos in the run-up to the French presidential elections on the value of national as distinguished from European sovereignty are related to growing doubts over German-style integration by law.

And there are further signs of fracture. Shortly before the holidays, two weeks after discontinuing the infringement procedure against Germany, the European Commission started several additional such procedures against Poland. At issue were various judgments of the Polish constitutional court that insist on the primacy of Polish constitutional law over European law where in the Treaties member states had not conferred specific competences to the EU and by implication the CJEU. Preparing the decision, von der Leyen was quoted by the EU’s PR office as saying that ‘EU law has priority over national law, including constitutional law’, a principle which according to her ‘had been accepted by all EU member states as members of the European Union’. Rhetoric like this has the potential of waking up hordes of sleeping dogs in national capitals, as it offers a taste of what a prominent, politically unsuspicious German European law specialist – a profession with a deeply rooted déformation professionnelle making it condone even the most daring deployment of law in furtherance of ‘ever closer union’ – has found himself prompted to call a ‘coup d’état from above’, by means of integration by law in its new, extended version.

How long could Neo-Liberalism, in its Common Market infancy last? A question that will never be asked by this newspaper, nor Kauffmann! That ‘evolved’ into the E.U., that looks to be held together by Public Relations, expressed not by Law, but by political improvisation, into a ‘Super State’. The vexed question, that this Financial Times guest writer can produce, is about Macron’s loyalty, to that teetering monument of post war resistance to Soviet revanchism- Kauffman provides , in part a predictable answer about Macron:

Can Macron be trusted on Russia at a time when European unity is so crucial? This is a legitimate question, given traditional suspicions of French complacency towards Russia and a no less traditional irritation caused by the Gallic taste for an independent foreign policy.

Macron political assent was was marked by ‘spoiled ballots’ , ‘blank ballots’, etc. in the low 30’s. His Jupertarian Politics was quickly discarded with the rise of the gilets jaunes, that are still active, although reduced in scope:

Headline: Who are the gilets jaunes today?

Sub-headline: A core group of gilets jaunes protesters are refusing to let diminished turnout deter them as they continue to demonstrate, mainly in Paris

The gilet jaunes protests once attracted hundreds of thousands, but the third anniversary of the movement’s launch in late November saw some 1,800 take to the streets of the capital.

Some former participants have been put off by clashes between police and protesters, while others have a sense of resignation, with fuel prices, the original grievance, higher than ever today. Covid has also taken over as the main focus of concern.

However, those remaining have no plans to hang up their yellow vests any time soon.

“I’ve been here since the beginning, and I’ll be here until the end,” said Paris-based protester Perrine, who declined to give her last name due to safety concerns. “My passion hasn’t changed – I’m loyal. I fully support the gilets jaunes,” she said.

The group formed after a fuel tax rise was proposed to combat climate change in late 2018.

Citizens united behind a petition created by a businesswoman to demand the measure be abandoned. It soon became a focus for all kinds of grievances against the status quo for those who felt they were not listened to by politicians.

Macron is a political opportunist, who longs for the World Stage, hardly a surprise! But the The Reader of this newspaper must be a bit surprised, that the enthusiasm that greeted Macron’s election, has turned sour. But the editors have chosen to let Kaufmann, of the ultra respectable Le Monde, deliver the ‘bad news’ about this, now, tarnished political star. As a possible callabo of Putin? Although Kauffman, in her last paragraph shifts the political focus onto Putin The Terrible.

So can Macron be trusted on Russia? The better question might be whether Putin can be trusted on Ukraine. But by now, we all know the answer.

Political Observer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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