The President of France Announces His Foreign Policy Priorities
France's recently-elected President, Emmanuel Macron, outlined his administration's foreign policy goals in an address delivered to 200 French ambassadors recently. He indicated he would prioritize ensuring the security of French citizens during the battle against terrorism at his ultimate objective. Maintaining French independence and revitalizing the nation's influential role in global affairs also rank high on his agenda.
Maintaining French Security
During the past two and half years, over 200 people have died in France as a result of politically motivated crimes committed by supporters of ISIS, a terror organization based in Syria. President Macron, who has faced declining poll ratings since taking office, indicated France and its international allies must invest to help restore stability in Syria and Iraq. He also expressed his hope Russia would refrain from using chemical weapons in Syria in the future.
He called for "more inclusive" reforms within Syria. Both Syria and Iraq have sustained extensive infrastructure damage as a result of partisan warfare during recent years. The fighting has displaced large numbers of civilians and contributed to a flood of refugees in Turkey, Europe, and the Middle East.
Emphasizing Africa in French Foreign Policy
President Macron indicated he believes poverty inspires many refugees to emigrate from Africa to Europe. He views Africa as vital to "the future" and feels the continent should hold an important place in French foreign policy. He indicated he plans to create "an axis" between Europe, the Mediterranean and Africa. He informed his audience of diplomats that Libya and Italy both deserve steadfast French support.
In order to help resolve Europe's current refugee crisis, President Macron plans to designate a French diplomatic official to head negotiations concerning migration issues. He intends to ask the European Union to create centers to help screen asylum applications within the North African Islamic nations of Chad and Niger. Currently, many refugees undergo processing at centers in Europe and the Mediterranean. He described the welcoming of refugees as a "human duty."
Reinvigorating The European Union
President Macron hopes to infuse the European Union with greater energy. He indicated the members of the Union must embrace "the European idea" once again. In his view, the UK's Brexit vote resulted from a lack of EU leadership and proactivity.
President Macron told the diplomats he envisions an EU in "several formats". Nations could integrate within that framework at their own pace.
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