Reflections

The Subtle Game France Is Playing in Central Europe

Aug 22, 2017 | 21:10 GMT
French President Emmanuel Macron will soon focus on Central and Eastern Europe, meeting with the leaders of Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in Salzburg on Aug. 23, and then visiting Romania on Aug. 24 and Bulgaria on Aug. 25. The official goal of these meetings is to discuss the situation of Eastern European nationals working in Western Europe. But France is also playing a more subtle political game.

French President Emmanuel Macron (C) meets with the Visegrad Group. Since taking office in June, the French government has been building its foreign policy at a frenzied pace. Macron will soon focus on Central and Eastern Europe, meeting with the leaders of Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in Salzburg on Aug. 23, and then visiting Romania on Aug. 24 and Bulgaria on Aug. 25. The official goal of these meetings is to discuss the situation of Eastern European nationals working in Western Europe. But France is also playing a more subtle political game. The European Union is about to start a debate about its future and Central and Eastern European countries will have to decide what role they want to have in it.

(EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Since taking office in June, the French government has been hurriedly building its foreign policy. President Emmanuel Macron has already met with U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin and has had several discussions with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to reform the European Union. Macron will soon focus on Central and Eastern Europe, meeting with the leaders of Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia in Salzburg on Aug. 23 and then visiting Romania on Aug. 24 and Bulgaria on Aug. 25. The official goal of the meetings is to discuss the Eastern European nationals working in Western Europe. But France is also playing a more subtle political game: The European Union is about to start a debate about its future and Central and Eastern European countries will have to decide what role they want to have in it. Macron wants to shape that decision....

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