Emmanuel Macron has been highly critical of the European project in recent weeks, stoking tensions with leaders throughout the bloc and around the world. Last month, prior to the NATO summit near London, the European Union figurehead described NATO as suffering from “brain death”, sparking a furious attack from the military alliance. He has also claimed “pushing Russia from Europe is a profound error”, attacking the bloc’s apparent vulnerabilities for helping Moscow boost its alliance with China and revive its influence in Syria and Libya.
Bulgarian political analyst Ivan Krastev and author of the 2017 book After Europe, which charts the intellectual’s view on the huge problems facing the European Union, has now lashed out at Mr Macron in a brutal attack over whether he be the new champion of European liberalism.
Mr Krastev at first praised Mr Macron, telling Politico: “He has two very positive sides and one major vulnerability.
“He sends clearly the message that the worst that can happen to Europe is to defend the status quo that doesn’t exist anymore.”
The EU political expert even sympathisd for the way the French leader is framing Europe’s sovereignty issues in that he is “trying to see how Europe can be a global player.”
Emmanuel Macron has come under attack over his plan for the EU
The French President described NATO as suffering from ‘brain death’
But Mr Krastev also highlighted the major flaws in the French leader’s plans for Europe.
He said Mr Macron “has the right intuition, but basically most of his visionary talk is not necessary followed with a much more concrete vision.”
The EU political expert warned this creates yet another problem: as the French President “speaks poetry,” the Germans “don’t want to commit on anything that doesn’t have footnotes.”
Mr Krastev also added Mr Macron “tries to speak to Europeans the way he speaks to the French — trying to pretend that all of Europe shares the French idea of a European sovereignty.”
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Emmanuel Macron claimed ‘pushing Russia from Europe is a profound error’
He highlighted these problems by pointing to Macron’s controversial comments on NATO and his attempt to reach out to Russia.
The French President sparked outrage last month when he warned a lack of leadership is causing the “brain death” of the NATO military alliance.
In an interview with the Economist, he cited the failure from the US to consult NATO prior to pulling troops out of northern Syria, and questioned whether the military alliance was still committed to collective defence.
Mr Macron told the newspaper: “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO.”
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Tensions between Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have been increasing
Angela Merkel lashed out at the French President
He warned European members of the alliance they could no longer rely on the US to defend NATO, which was formed nearly 70 years ago at the start of the Cold War to boost the security of Western Europe and North America.
This sparked a furious attack from close ally Angela Merkel, who raged: “I understand your desire for disruptive politics, but I’m tired of picking up the pieces.
“Over and over, I have to glue together the cups you have broken so that we can then sit down and have a cup of tea together.”
At the NATO summit earlier this month, Mr Macron refused to back down from his comments, while US President Donald Trumps called the remarks “nasty and insulting”.
Donald Trump described Emmanuel Macron’s comments on NATO as ‘nasty and insulting’
Earlier this year, the French leader also claimed it was time Europe reached out to Russia to keep it in the Western fold and avoid being caught in the middle of a new Cold War.
While Mr Macron didn’t outright say lift EU sanctions imposed over Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine, but claimed new sanctions “are not in our interest.”
He told French broadcaster France 24 in September: “Pushing Russia from Europe is a profound strategic error,” adding Europe’s “weaknesses and mistakes” have helped Moscow increase its pact with China and revive its influence in Syria and Libya.
Mr Macron said: “It’s not in our interest to be weak and guilty, to forget all our disagreements and to embrace each other again.”
But he insisted: “The European continent will never be stable, will never be in security, if we don’t pacify and clarify our relations with Russia.”