On October 1, Paris saw people of different communities coming together to protest against Chinese atrocities. As the protests are on a rise against China, French President Emmanuel Macron has provided his voice by criticizing China for the Human Rights Abuses on Uyghurs, Tibetans & in Hong Kong.
Macron has arrived at a time when the European Union was observing an increasing divide among Eastern & Western Europe. His rise will provide a leader for Europe to resist division as well as save European multilateral institution (EU).
There is an anti-China sentiment within the EU but the leadership under German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been trying to differ any sort of criticism of China due to economic interests, making her the devils advocate. Although now she has changed her stance but her leadership has been dented because under the garb of humanism Merkel was following German economic interests. This created the void of leadership in Europe, and these shoes are being filled by Emmanuel Macron.
Macron has been taking on China for its COVID-19 handling and plunging the world into the biggest crisis of the 21st century when it was not fashionable among the leaders of EU. Macron told FT “Given these differences, the choices made and what China is today, which I respect, let’s not be so naive as to say it’s been much better at handling this.”
At a time when Merkel is not to be seen anywhere, Macron is taking on all the major international issues of the European populace. Be it political Islam, belligerent Turkey & China or the inward-looking USA. France is dealing with separatist Islamists and Emmanuel Macron has not minced his words in condemning the ideology and promising stern action against their operatives.
He has taken Turkey head-on in 3 different theatres of conflict, Libya, Eastern Mediterranean and Southern Caucasus. He is now leading the ideals of Europe and showcasing that, Europe need not shy away from its identity, it was a Christendom and just because of secularism they should not relinquish their identity. Europe is shifting the political dynamics away from (Centre to Left) Social Democratism to (Centre to Right) Liberal Republicanism and Macron seems to be understanding this rightward shift.
Recently in UNGA, Macron packed punches at China with a statements like, “Today’s world cannot be left to the rivalry between these two superpowers (USA & China)” and mentioning that COVID-19 pandemic should act like an electric shock and a wakeup call for the United Nations.
The French have also started to work on phasing out the Huawei 5G gears which have been awarded licenses for 3-5 years and the country plans on fully doing away with Huawei by 2028 i.e. a de facto ban. Some voices in the French government are of the view that France should follow the British and put a blanket ban with a 3-year time limit.
In addition to this, during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Macron has shared concerns over human rights issues in China, whereas Germany has been shying away from antagonizing their precious Chinese consumer market.
France seems to be poised to lead the European continent and cooperate with other big powers which influence their regions, to create an alternative to the Chinese challenge to the stability of global institutions.
Emmanuel Macron stands out as a leader who is going to revive the multipolar world order by knitting close ties with like-minded great powers be it, India, Japan, Canada, Australia among others. He is also becoming the voice of the rightward tilt in the European populace’s conscious. For example, French President Emmanuel Macron with Indian PM Shri Narendra Modi has created the World Solar Alliance, which will act as a platform and tool to strengthen multilateralism.
France under Macron is providing leadership to Europe at a time when the Germans under Angela Merkel are leaders only in name. They did not support their Eastern European EU members against Chinese encroachment to their sovereignty and only passing comments as criticisms now and then just to stay relevant.
It is highly likely that his leadership will provide a new surge of energy and synergy to the European Union as an organization and the Continent will come together to fight off the Chinese who are trying to encroach on the sovereignty of EU member countries.