Association for Free Research and International Cooperation

Franco-Russian reconciliation: what interest for France

16.09.2019
Article from AFRIC Editorial
What's behind the Russian turning point of French President Emmanuel Macron? While relations between Paris and the Kremlin have thawed since 2014 following the rally to Russia of Crimea, disagreement over the conflict in Ukraine and the Syrian issue, France seems to have returned to better feelings as evidenced by the multiple initiatives of its president Emmanuel Macron against Russia and its president Vladimir Putin. Monday, September 02, the Russian and French defense and foreign ministers met in Moscow for a meeting on the establishment of a new style of cooperation proposed by the head of the Elyse. The meeting comes just weeks after Vladimir Putin's visit to Brégançon, France, at the invitation of Emmanuel Macron.

Although France has not yet lifted European sanctions against Moscow, the steps taken by the founder of the Republic since its inception all converge towards a clear desire to normalize relations between Russia and Europe. The rapprochement of these two blocks is of paramount importance for the French president for whom multilateralism remains the only effective response to the unilateralism advocated by US President Donald Trump.

A meeting focused on security cooperation.

In Moscow French ministers Jean-Yves le Drian and Florence Parly spoke at length about Franco-Russian security cooperation with their counterparts Sergei Lavrov and Serguei Choigou. The last meeting of its kind between the two countries took place seven years ago. The two French ministers presented to the Russians the project of President Emmanuel Macron called “architecture of trust”. This project reports a resumption of dialogue between military and civilians of both countries in order to strengthen security in Europe. The work involves an increase in joint projects, arms control in Europe, the sharing of common values and principles as well as the development of effective methods for predicting, managing and avoiding crises.

On the subject of the Ukrainian case that crystallizes the relations between Europe and Russia, the French president plans the organization by the end of September of a meeting to which are invited the Russian leaders, German, Ukrainian and French. French ministers at the end of the meeting with their Russian counterparts have highlighted positive points about relations between Russia and Ukraine marked by the exchange of prisoners on September 7 between the two countries.

The Ukrainian and French Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense also spoke of the militarization of space and the possibility of collaboration between Russia and France in this specific area. Worried about the United States’ advance on armaments in space, the Kremlin wants Paris to be involved in setting up a legal document to regulate and limit the deployment of weapons in space to avoid an internationalization of conflicts in this area especially since President Donald Trump who wants to ensure US supremacy in space has announced the creation of a space force that will be considered the 6th branch of the US Army.

The Multilateralism of Emmanuel Macron

Under the watchful eye of the United States and Europe, France is gradually getting closer to Russia. The French president, who has always been in favor of reviving dialogue with the Kremlin, knows that it will be difficult to have an immediate result. On August 27, he recommended that his diplomats rethink relations with Russia, which remains an important link for the preservation of European geopolitical interests. At the last G7 meeting he chaired, Emmanuel Macron pleaded for a re-establishment of links between Europe and Russia. He is also the first European leader to accept Putin’s invitation to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the victory of the anti-fascist war planned for next May. The multilateralism advocated by the French president in terms of diplomacy can, according to his predictions, be an effective response to the unilateralism defended by Trump through his slogan “America first”. To make Russia an ally and not an opponent seems to be the only option he believes is able to preserve the interests of France and Europe, today threatened by the great arrogance of Barack Obama’s successor.

Upon his arrival in power, Donald Trump quickly announced the tone by redefining the relationship between the United States and other major world powers. In a trade war with China, the world’s leading economic power has weakened its relations with its European allies by announcing its intention to withdraw from the Paris climate treaty, but also from the Iran nuclear deal and demanding Europe more effort in the financing of NATO of which she is the biggest contributor to 70%.

 Russia’s many differences with Europe have cost it its place in the G8. But today the vulnerability of relations between Europe and the United States since the takeover of Trump, make Russia a partner of weight for European security issues. Being geographically close, Russia and Europe have security interests different from those of the United States. Emmanuel Macron who firmly believes that for reasons of geopolitical security it would be wise for the European continent to reestablish its relations with Russia, to be the bridge linking it again with the Kremlin to Europe.

 Article from AFRIC Editorial

Photo Credit : google image/illustration

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