How European Public Views French President Macron’s Taiwan Statement
Photo: Reuters.

Recently, the statement made by French President Macron in China on the Taiwan issue (Europe needs to be the “third pole” alongside the US and China, to pursue its “strategic autonomy”, to not be the US’s on the Taiwan issue, and to avoid being dragged into the conflict, etc.), have stirred some controversies.
Public opinion from Europe is quite diverse. While the majority acknowledging the importance of the Taiwan issue, however, opinions on France’s approach are not the same.

1/ Critics accuse Macron of going against EU stance and causing divisions within the bloc. They consider "strategic autonomy" as a far-fetched goal in the current context.
  • Le Point (France): Macron contradicts himself with EU values as Poland and Hungary are often criticized for not complying with EU principles.
  • Jyllands-Posten (Denmark): Macron’s statement reflects his own weakness and political decadence. The US is Europe's security main protector, not France, so Europe will choose the US.
  • The Times (UK): EU cannot achieve its “strategic autonomy”, and Macron should accept the role as an ally instead of betraying it.
  • La Libre Belgique (Belgium): Macron has put the blame onto the US. France has sent a dangerous signal to President Xi Jinping by letting China think it can act freely. In 1950, the Korean War occurred after US President Truman stated that he did not want to get involved in East Asia.
  • Süddeutsche Zeitung (Germany): Macron has caused rift inside the EU and between the EU and its allies with his statement.
  • Jutarnji list (Croatia): Macron was supposed to rally China's support to criticize Russia, but was used by China to criticize the US instead.
2/ Some are more neutral, saying that France also has its reasons, and Macron was speaking from the interests of the EU but the points should have been made in a different context.
  • Rzeczpospolita (Poland): Macron chose the wrong time and place to criticize the US.
  • La Stampa (Italy): What Macron said made sense but he chose the wrong situation, rendering Macron's point of view worthless.
  • Capital (Greek): The EU is changing its policy towards the US. European Commission President Von der Leyen (who traveled with Macron to China) did not object to the French message, suggesting that the EU seems to have agreed with the message. France also has a point because the US economic war on China harms the EU.
  • Onet (Poland): The EU benefits from having "strategic autonomy" with the US to a certain degree. In the past, the US only cared about its own interests, asking the EU to unconditionally support the Iraq War or buy its strategic weapons, etc.
  • Onet (Poland): France's anti-American sentiment is a long-standing tradition (for instance, De Gaulle once withdrew from NATO; France once criticized NATO under US leadership).
3/ Others support Macron’s perspective, claiming that this is France’s tactical way to increase leverage on China:
  • Lost in Europe (EU): Macron is not wrong when he asserts that the EU and the US have different interests, the EU should be the third pole in the world order.
  • Magyar Nemzet (Hungary): France is the only nuclear power and the only member of the Security Council in Europe, deserving of a higher place on the international stage. It is entirely reasonable for France to make such a statement.
  • Le Soir (Belgium): Mrs. Von der Leyen and Mr. Macron played two different roles, coordinating to play the "good cop, bad cop" game with China. The EU's message on the Taiwan issue had been clearly affirmed by Ms. Von der Leyen and China will take hers more seriously.
  • Radio Kommersant FM (Russia): Macron's move is to get China to support the EU's Ukraine peace initiative. President Xi has suggested that Macron should come up with his own peace plan and China would support it.
The article is originally published here
Translated by Nguyen Tien Dat
Revised by HD, Viet Ha