Macron Vs Merkel: To NATO or Not To NATO

by Aurora Ceccotti & Milena Di Nenno

France’s President Emmanuel Macron (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) speak prior to a working session of European leaders at a EU summit in Sibiu, central Romania on May 9, 2019. Credits: Ludovic Marin

On November 7th, Macron released the interview which led to a strong disequilibrium within the European Union and significantly challenged the relations between France and Germany.

He declared to the Economist that “NATO is becoming brain dead” heavily criticizing Turkey’s operation in Syria and suggesting the need for a European military alliance completely detached from NATO.

This declaration led to several implications, includingErdogan’s response, saying that “Macron is in a state of ‘brain death’” and the exacerbation of tensions with Angela Merkel. In contrast, she in fact considers NATO as “cornerstone of our security” (BBC, 2019).

Furthermore, the German chancellor stated, referring to Macron: “I’m tired of picking up the pieces. Over and over, I have to glue together the cups you have broken so that we can then sit down and have a cup of tea together” (Erlanger, 2019). This clash reflects the incompatibility of two politicians with contrasting approaches: the conservative and diplomatic politics of Merkel and the disruptive, impatient attitude of Macron.

This declaration was the source of instability that could easily have been avoided. However, it could be argued that Macron’s approach is the most efficient method to challenge the status quo and start the birthing process of a new European alliance completely independent from the USA. The disruption of collaboration with NATO could, however, seem like a challenge to the US, thus eventually leading to military tensions.

  • Should the European Union implement a military enforcement agency independent from NATO?
  • Would a European agency give more power to the EU? Would it pose a threat to the global military equilibrium?

Suggested Readings:

“Emmanuel Macron Warns Europe: «NATO is Becoming Brain Dead»” by The Economist

“Merkel and Macron Publicly Clash Over NATO” by Steven Erlanger

“Merkel: NATO a Cornerstone if Our Security” by BBC News

“Is Macron’s NATO «Brain Dead» Comment a Wake-Up Call?” by Natacha Butler

Aurora Ceccotti

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