France: what is Emmanuel Macron looking for on the international scene?

French President Emmanuel Macron during a lunch at the palace in Amman, Jordan, December 21, 2022. © LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

Text by: Valérie Gas Follow

4 mins

Since his re-election, Emmanuel Macron has been hyperactive on the international field.

With the war in Ukraine, the French president has more than ever put on the clothes of a super-diplomat.

He multiplies the trips abroad and even dedicated for the first time a televised interview to the only international questions.

Between action and image, what is Emmanuel Macron looking for on the international scene for his second term?


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Emmanuel Macron first wants to be everywhere.

If only in the last few weeks, it has multiplied and traveled to the four corners of the planet.

He coupled his visit to troops on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle before Christmas with a

trip to Jordan

and before that he had been to

Indonesia for the G20

, Thailand for

the APEC summit

, Egypt for

Cop 27

, in Tunisia for

the Francophonie

summit , in the United States on a state visit at

the invitation of Joe Biden


And during this trip, he assumed this bulimia of travels: “ 

I consider that the French president must go to the G20, he must make major regional summits, he must also carry the voice [of France] and as for the United States United, we are offered to be the first State visit of this administration, I think it is a sufficiently strong signal for us to get organized and to be able to continue the work we have to do in home and be there




Overinvesting in the international field


Everything is linked

 ", Emmanuel Macron often repeats to explain that when he is abroad, he serves the interests of France.

And to hear the political scientist Benjamin Morel, lecturer at the University of Paris 2, it also serves the interests of the president: “

Managing to capitalize on what he does internationally is always what is wanted.

And it's true that during a second term, when you don't represent yourself, there is a lot more opportunity to communicate on these subjects.

When, moreover, the internal climate is not extremely good for you, it is in your interest to overinvest the international field from the point of view of political communication.


But be careful, to hear Hubert Védrine, who was François Mitterrand's Minister of Foreign Affairs, a second term does not only have advantages: " 

When a president is re-elected, the whole world knows that he will not be re-elected another time.

The look changes.

So it gives freedom, but it can reduce influence, it's a double-edged sword.



A president who takes risks


How does Emmanuel Macron conduct his international policy?

In the continuity of his predecessors, Emmanuel Macron displays the ambition to defend the main principles, the values ​​of France, but adds his particular touch, he often tries to play the card of personal links with the leaders.


did it with Donald Trump

in particular, without great results elsewhere.

► Also to listen: Le Monde en Questions - Between Paris and Washington, a unique relationship?

He also positions himself as the man of mediations who always leaves the door open to dialogue in crises.

And the chairman of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committee, the Modem, Jean-Louis Bourlanges, points to two all-Macronian characteristics: commitment and optimism: " 

He is a president who takes risks, sometimes too much .

With Putin, we did not obtain the results that were hoped for, we did not prevent the war.

Nevertheless, according to him, it was worth trying even if it did not succeed.

He is someone who believes that it will work, there is this desire to give a positive dimension, a dimension of hope.


The socialist deputy Guillaume Garot regrets that this leads the president too often to choose a solitary path: " 

We sometimes have the feeling of a foreign policy of France which is carried out according to its own intuitions and therefore it can give the feeling in an arrogant way.

Look at what has been done vis-à-vis Russia, there is a form of going it alone.

We cannot simply be France alone




Repositioning oneself within Europe


What are the challenges of Emmanuel Macron on the international level for the years to come?

There are short-term and long-term issues, this is what Hubert Védrine explains: "

The immediate question is

support for Ukraine

, which Putin can never win in Ukraine, and the resistance of Europeans on the issue of shortages, inflation, etc.

And there, that brings us back to another question for the president in the years 2023-24, which is how to reposition himself within Europe, within the Union in relation to a Germany which is asserting more and more clearly, unvarnished, his German line.


Giving new impetus to the European Union was Emmanuel Macron's ambition in 2017. Reuniting Europe, making it sovereign remains a priority issue for his international action and perhaps the way to leave an imprint on Europe. end of his two terms.


To read also:

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  • France

  • Emmanuel Macron

  • Geopolitics

  • Diplomacy