Emmanuel Macron's Double Diplomatic Transformation in Central Europe and NATO

Emmanuel Macron’s Double Diplomatic Transformation in Central Europe and NATO

Emmanuel Macron is undergoing a diplomatic transformation, advocating accelerated EU expansion and Ukraine’s NATO membership to restore leadership and bolster European security.

Macron’s Strategy to Restore Leadership on the Continent

French President Emmanuel Macron has significantly changed his diplomatic strategy to regain leadership in Europe. 

Macron aims to “accelerate” the European Union (EU) expansion to include countries from the former Soviet bloc. 

Surprisingly, he has also expressed willingness to consider the integration of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Macron’s Reversal on EU Enlargement

Traditionally, France has been cautious about accepting new members into the EU from the former Soviet bloc, insisting on deeper integration within the EU before considering enlargement. 

However, Macron intends to strengthen the European “anchor” for these countries. 

During a conference on continental security in Bratislava, Macron stated, “The question for us is not whether we should expand, not even when we should do it—I think we should do it as soon as possible—but HOW we should do it.”

To support this perspective, France would advocate for opening accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova by the end of 2023. 

Macron justifies this change by emphasizing the geopolitical importance of integrating these countries into Europe. 

He believes Ukraine and Moldova defend European values against threats from Russia, and their integration into the EU would help protect them from Russian and Chinese interference. 

Macron envisions a European Union with 35 members, although he emphasizes the need for reforming the EU’s functioning. 

The Elysée Palace plans to propose reforms by October to accelerate the expansion process.

Considering Ukraine’s NATO Membership

Another significant change in Macron’s position concerns Ukraine’s potential membership in NATO. 

France now views this as a means to encourage Russia and Ukraine to negotiate. 

A diplomatic source states, “We are raising the prospect of joining NATO to encourage the Russians and Ukrainians to sit at the negotiating table.”

Although NATO had previously opened the door for Ukraine’s membership during the 2008 summit in Bucharest, France, and Germany had vetoed its rapid expansion. 

However, Macron, during his visit to Moscow and Kyiv in February 2022, suggested a form of “Finlandization” for Ukraine—a status of neutrality that would appease Russia. 

Nevertheless, Finland abandoned its neutrality in light of Russian aggression and joined NATO.

Macron’s Bid for Continental Leadership

By embracing these policy changes, Macron aims to restore his leadership on the continent and address the demands of Central European countries, most of which support Ukraine’s integration into the EU and NATO. 

He emphasizes the need to overcome the division between Western and Eastern Europe, which the Soviet Union had perpetuated. 

Macron acknowledges that missed opportunities to listen to Central European countries in the past need to be rectified.

While Macron’s transformation has been well-received by many Central European nations, it risks creating tensions with Germany. 

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz believes that Ukraine’s accession to the EU should be carefully evaluated before committing to acceleration. 

Moreover, Scholz maintains that promising NATO membership to Ukraine amidst an ongoing war is not feasible.


In conclusion, Macron’s double diplomatic transformation signals a significant shift in France’s stance toward EU enlargement and Ukraine’s potential membership in NATO. 

These changes aim to reinforce European integration, protect European values, and strengthen security on the eastern flank of the EU and NATO. 

The success of Macron’s strategy will depend on negotiations with other EU member states and the ability to maintain consensus within the alliance.

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