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Opinion
Lionel Laurent

Macron’s Bid for ‘Power Europe’ Runs Into Putin’s Russia

After failed efforts to bring Putin in from the cold, France has a chance to try a more assertive approach.

A new approach.

A new approach.

Photographer: TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP

Emmanuel Macron has spent much of his presidency trying to get the European Union to speak the language of hard power in a more hostile world.

A smorgasbord of EU defense plans, including a 5,000-strong deployment force by 2025, have accompanied visions of a bloc less dependent on the U.S. and NATO — which he once derided as “brain-dead.” In 2019, when trying to engineer a rapprochement with Vladimir Putin’s Russia on a host of issues including the Ukraine conflict, Macron evoked Charles de Gaulle’s call for a Europe stretching from “the Atlantic to the Urals.”