Dan Wootton says Macron has been ‘humiliated’ by Putin
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With Mr Macron having worked tirelessly in the role of broker-diplomat between Moscow, Brussels and Washington, the latest move into Eastern Ukraine by Russian assets has undermined his attempts at peace. With the President facing an upcoming election in April, as well as continuing to play a role in the peacebuilding operation, some have questioned his credibility.
The President of Estonia was one of the more vocal critics.
Kaja Kallas, speaking to the Financial Times said: “I feel there is a strong wish to be the hero who solves this case, but I don’t think it’s solvable.
“There seems to be a certain type of naivety towards Russia.”
Yet for Mr Macron, the role of broker appears to be an attempt to fill a void in European politics.
With the retirement of former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Mr Macron is keen on filling the gap, yet to be replaced by Olaf Scholz, whom some consider as unstable in a rainbow coalition.
With France now enjoying the rotating presidency of the European Council, one writer has exposed the weakness of the EU when it comes to dealing with Russia.
According to Wolfram Weimer, a journalist and publisher, he states: “The timing of Russia’s further intensified policy of aggression in Europe is no coincidence.
“Vladimir Putin is taking advantage of a particular moment of power-political weakness in the EU.”
In terms of the ongoing situation with Russia, Mr Weimer said: “On the Russia issue, Macron now wants to demonstrate a second time the power to shape policy now lies with him.
“He would have been all too happy to present himself as Europe’s peacemaker. But Macron is obviously too occupied with his public image.
“His telephone diplomacy with Moscow, which was communicated to the media, lacks a strategic plan.
“The announcement by the Élysée Palace that Macron had arranged a new summit meeting between Putin and Biden and that a path to peace was possible was not only premature: it was a blatant miscalculation, even obvious bragging.”
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Some have questioned whether Mr Macron had the permission and authority to arrange such a meeting and raised concerns as to what exactly had been promised to Mr Putin in return
Mr Weimer went on to suggest the entire EU is being mocked by the Kremlin.
He said: “The bottom line is Putin simply does not take the Europeans seriously as negotiating partners.”
He added: “The normative power is dwindling, and in real political terms the EU is now one of the most impotent great powers in the world.
“The truth is bitter: Europe is not even capable of defending Ukraine or even itself.
“It is stumbling through the crisis and is completely dependent on the protective umbrella of the USA – no matter who is now positioning himself as the leading figure of the European Union.”
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Mr Macron also faces a dilemma at home.
With the incumbent yet to officially declare his intention to run for a second term, Mr Macron appears to be using the Ukraine crisis to deflect attention away from his national policies and legacy to date.
His tenure has been marred by protests, from the Yellow Vest movement early on, which saw French police react with brutal force, to the so-called Freedom Convoy which recently saw Covid restriction protesters run the length of the nation.
Furthermore, his handling of the fishing wars with Britain, a rise in Islamophobia and the poor handling of pension schemes mean Mr Macron is under fire from a strong and competitive opposition.
Although it is largely believed Mr Macron will gain a second term in office, should he declare himself in the running, he is far from enjoying a majority lead in the first round.
With far-right candidate, Marine Le Pen likely to be his main rival, the elections in April will place further pressure on the already under-fire president.
Current polls place Mr Macron on 25 percent, with Eric Zemmour and Marine le Pen tied in second on 16 percent, followed by Centre-Right candidate Valerie Pecresse on 14.5 percent.
The polls, conducted by the IFOP, are true as of February 22.
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