From pro-Europe to nationalist: the double face of Emmanuel Macron

The music chose to accompany Emmanuel Macron, as he walked in victory through the Louvre esplanade on electoral victory night, was Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, the official anthem of the European Union. The Guardian commented this choice: “Macron’s victory march to Europe’s anthem said more than words.” The Economist represented him walking on waters (see picture on the left) asking if he was the ‘saviour of Europe.”

During his electoral campaign he seemed to be one of the strongest supporter of the European Union. He explicitly said during the electoral campaign that “France hasn’t done everything to help Italy during the migrant crisis“. That’s also why Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni congratulates him after his victory twitting “Hurray. #Macron President Europe is feeling hopeful.”

But what does Paolo Gentiloni think today?

As soon as Macron took office at the Élysée:

  • he decided to close French borders for migrants coming from Italy,
  • he decided not to open French ports to welcome migrants from North Africa,
  • he unilaterally called a peace conference for Libya without involving any other EU or UN partners,
  • he announced the creation of hotspot in Libya to stop migrants arriving in Europe without any notification to EU authorities, neither to the EU Agency for Migration Frontex and finally
  • he nationalised French biggest shipyard at St-Nazaire rather than allow it to pass into Italian ownership of Fincantieri.

Italy’s front pages were filled with anger at the French. “Macron’s blitz overshadows Italy,” said La Stampa, later adding on its website, “Italy and France head for naval battle.” Il Messaggero went with “Libya deal without Italy.”

Gentiloni’s ministers openly criticized the French president this week, voicing their frustration with Macron’s efforts, which they argue distract from a coordinated U.N. and European Union effort to engineer a political deal in Libya between three rival governments and dozens of militias.

Also Italian MEP Gianni Pittella, leader of the Socialists at the European Parliament, attacked Macron over his policies on migration saying: “The situation is shameful. Italy and the Italians are being abandoned, they’re being expected to deal with all these migrants on their own with no support.

Is this the worse diplomatic crisis between Italy and France after Zidane headbutt? Bloomberg jokes.

Vive lEurope, monsieur le Président! Non?