Flying on Wednesday for Rome, Emmanuel Macron has an idea behind his head. "He will make tons with the new Italian government to tie it to our progressive vision of Europe, summarizes a minister of weight. After being sidelined by Salvini, he wants to take advantage of this interlude that may not last. If he succeeds in bringing the troublemaker Italy back into the European fold, the French president, already influential on the new Brussels Commission, will have the cards of Europe in hand. The Anglo-Saxon media Bloomberg, popular business, has he not recently titled "the growing influence of Macron in Brussels"?
Is the head of state in the process of becoming the boss of Europe in place of Chancellor Angela Merkel? "Macron occupies a leadership void, nuance Sébastien Maillard, director of the Jacques Delors Institute (Editor's note: author, with former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta, of "Making Europe in a world of bullies", Ed Pluriel). Between the rising Merkel era amidst economic concerns in Germany, Belgium without government, Spain embarked on new elections, Italy and many other countries in the north or east in the hands of fragile coalitions , not to mention the UK disoriented by Brexit, France Macron appears as a pole of stability.
So, when this president puts forward proposals, as with his platform to EU citizens last spring, or boasts – in his speech to ambassadors at the end of August – the emergence of a "political Europe", his peers get upset or criticize. But they listen.
"On defense, Macron pushes for true European autonomy"
The next president of the Commission, Francophone and Francophile Ursula Von der Leyen, she, in any case, listens. "When she proclaims that this Commission will be geopolitical, and creates a post dedicated to Prospective, it meets the perfection of the French vision," notes Maillard. Geopolitics? Clearly, more attentive to the transformation of the world and the rise of China and other new giants, less bent on the sacrosanct EU rules of free competition.
"Typically, hopes a minister, it will not reproduce the error of the Commission Juncker who had retorted the Alstom-Siemens merger project." The German has also programmed the establishment of a "European commercial prosecutor" who will ensure compliance with CETA-type international treaties. "A French idea", welcomes Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State in charge of foreign trade.
Another sign of this newfound influence? The police station "tailor-made" for Sylvie Goulard: Internal Market, Industry, Defense, Space, so many strategic priorities in the eyes of France. "On the defense, in particular, Macron pushes for a true European autonomy, that we are not the vassals of the United States", insists Lemoyne. It will still be necessary for the European Parliament to validate the appointment of the ephemeral centrist Minister of Defense (May-June 2017), grappling with the judicial record of the fictitious jobs of MoDem. Everything can happen. The vote of the deputies in Strasbourg will depend very much on the results of the investigation currently carried out in complete discretion by OLAF (European Office for the fight against fraud).