The Double Cross
28 September 2021
At a time when solidarity is fundamental in building global relevance for Europe, relations between France and Central European nations are at the lowest point of trust in recent history. Nuancing the depth of their divergence and highlighting opportunities for a reset might help to restructure what is today an ineffective rapport.
February 1813. When perusing his diplomatic correspondence, the blue eyes of the duke of Bassano, Napoleon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, fell on this insightful phrase: “En un mot, ce prince sera tout ce que les circonstances exigeront” (ed. In short, this prince will be all that the circumstances will require).
The words concerned the newly-elected sovereign of a Danube Principality; but reading them two centuries later, it was the current leader of the duke’s homeland that emerged as most suitable to this description.
Given the circumstances, President Emmanuel Macron made efforts to adapt France’s input to the European construction, and there is something dramatic in his efforts to promote ‘Power Europe’. France tries to convince reluctant others (and parts of herself) on the benefits of a renewed architecture.