Europe as a Power: A French Vision for Europe in the World
Analysis | President Macron has been promoting the concept of European sovereignty and strategic autonomy for quite some time. His vision of a strategically autonomous Europe is based on the premise of profound geopolitical shifts and a new reality of big power rivalries. Still, Paris will have to convince skeptical EU Member States about the soundness of this concept.
The Biden election gave a new momentum to the European debate on strategic autonomy. The concept of strategic autonomy (as well as European sovereignty), which features in EU official documents, remains unclear to many, and even controversial in some European capitals. The recent open disagreement between French president Emmanuel Macron and German defense minister Annegret Kramp Karrenbauer illustrates the existing differences among EU member-states.
France has historically taken the lead in promoting a sovereign and strategically autonomous Europe. Rooted in the French strategic culture, this ambition has been reaffirmed over the past four years in light of the deterioration of the European security environment and the political evolutions in the United States and China. During his 2017 presidential campaign, Emmanuel Macron argued that Europe was “at the crossroad between strategic irrelevance and a reaffirmation of its power on the international stage”. This sense of urgency has guided the action of the French president ever since.