View from Paris: “A European military campaign? This is unacceptable!”

10:04 10.03.2024 •

French President Emmanuel Macron met leaders of the country’s main political parties as he sought to hammer home the importance of greater support for Ukraine.
Photo: Reuters

After his remarks about possible military support for Ukraine angered the opposition, Emmanuel Macron received party leaders on Thursday, March 7, for a discussion with a view to holding a debate on March 12, French BFMTV informs.

In particular, the President presented the results of an international conference on increasing military support for Ukraine, organized last week in Paris. During the meeting, the President wanted to find out how far the parties could go to support Ukraine.

“He is very pessimistic. He told us that the situation will worsen in the coming months and expects a possible US withdrawal,” one executive tells BFMTV.

Fabien Roussel (PCF) and Jordan Bardella (Rassemblement national) explained that Emmanuel Macron has not placed “any restrictions” on French support for Ukraine. Opposition parties and the head of state have not reached consensus on the boundaries that should be established.

Jordan Bardella said his party supports Ukraine, but at the same time guarantees that France will not enter into the conflict. The RN leader did not hesitate to call the president "ready for war." "I think France's position is to carry the voice of peace, of equidistance... I have the impression that the president and the prime minister are losing their composure," he said.

“I heard that Macron has no boundaries,” laments EELV national secretary Marine Tondelier.

“I express even greater concern,” responded Manuel Bompard from “Insoumis”, who would prefer that the President of the Republic open the way to “diplomatic solutions” as sooner… “It was a rather strange and difficult atmosphere. It turned out that everyone is for peace and wants to support Ukraine... But no one agrees on how… One might wonder about the usefulness of this meeting.”

Eric Ciotti (Les Republicains) told, that there is no question of becoming “accomplices in the war.” He suspects Emmanuel Macron of “instrumentalizing” aid to Ukraine for the purposes of a European military campaign. “This is unacceptable!”

Macron said that the new red line is if Russia "approaches" either Odessa or Kyiv. If that happens, the French leader declared, France will send troops in to fight the Russians. What Macron actually meant to say is that Washington will send in troops to fight the Russians, supposes Stephen Bryen, a former US Deputy Under Secretary of Defense.

Jean-Pierre Chevènement (photo) answered a Parisian newspaper ‘Figaro’ questions. Should mention, that Jean-Pierre Chevènement is a significant figure of the French left, a cofounder of the Socialist Party. He served as a Minister of the Interior in the 1980s – 1990s and he was a candidate in the 2002 for Presidential election.

Le Figaro: Emmanuel Macron said that sending Western troops to Ukraine was not ruled out. What do you think?

Jean-Pierre Chevènement: This position is part of an irresponsible and very worrying headlong rush. The French elected Emmanuel Macron as President of the French Republic; they did not elect Volodymyr Zelensky. And they do not expect the President of the French Republic to first defend the interests of Ukraine or any other country; they expect him to defend the interests of France. When it comes to peace and war, our president must remember that deterrence can only be implemented to defend the vital interests of France. However, let us say it clearly, France's vital interests are not located in Ukraine.

Le Figaro: Emmanuel Macron had nevertheless explained that “we should not humiliate Russia”. How do you explain this turnaround?

Jean-Pierre Chevènement: I can’t explain it. And all this gave rise to no debate. This is why, together with Hubert Védrine, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, I asked for the matter to be referred to Parliament, in accordance with the spirit of the Constitution. The Constitution clearly says that, in a process that leads us to war, Parliament must be consulted. The President of the Republic cannot decide alone whether Russia should not be worried or whether ground troops should be sent. These are excessive foot changes. We would like there to be a coherent foreign policy.

Le Figaro: This rightly raises the question of the coherence of French and European diplomacy – even if Emmanuel Macron seems rather isolated on the question of sending troops.

Jean-Pierre Chevènement: Above all, this reveals poor consideration of what the national interest is. It cannot be today this and tomorrow that; “at the same time” cannot make it possible to calibrate a reasonable and credible foreign policy. What remains of France's credibility when its main allies dissociate themselves from the unresponsible proposal made by the head of state, as is the case with the sending of ground troops? It is important to rectify the situation. And that is why I am speaking out forcefully.


…Emmanuel Macron, who promised to travel to Ukraine before mid-March, discussed the theme at the Elysee Palace with his predecessors – Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy. France's strategy will be the subject of debate, followed by a parliamentary vote on Tuesday 12 March in the National Assembly and then on Wednesday in the Senate.


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