Macron’s Offer of Strategic Autonomy Appeals to Slovaks

Slovakians share a scepticism of American security guarantees with the French

2 June 2023

French President Macron delivered both a reassuring and tailored message to Slovakia as the country faces the prospect of a less NATO-friendly government.

The French President visited Bratislava with a message that he wanted to give the region of Central European post-socialist countries. Perhaps, it was telling that, at the outset, he emphasised how far he had travelled. It is not such a long distance from Paris, but he probably wanted to draw attention to the fact of the mental work it gave him.

Making amends

He came to repair the reputational debt to our region, where, according to Macron, we perceive his country as arrogant and inconsiderate. To prove otherwise, he challenged Jacques Chirac’s famous statement that countries aspiring for membership in the Union really did not need to cheer the intervention in Iraq and could have kept quiet instead.

On the contrary, he acknowledged that after what happened on 24 February 2022, we should have listened to the countries that have historical experience with the Kremlin’s imperialism. (In fact, this approval goes to Poland and Baltic countries rather than to, for example, Slovakia, where the public opinion has traditionally been divided on the question of whether Russia is a threat at all.)

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Zuzana Kepplova

Columnist, writer and an editor of the opinion section at the leading Slovak newspaper, SME.

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