French President Emmanuel Macron, Thursday, September 10, hosted leaders of European countries on the Mediterranean, for the “Med7” summit in Corsica.
READ MORE: After spending months fighting coronavirus fires at home, French President Emmanuel Macron has switched his sights to the Middle East, flying last week to two key regional hot spots, Lebanon and Iraq, and hosting a summit Thursday in Corsica partly dominated by southern Europe’s growing friction with Turkey.
Macron’s penchant for bold gestures, from dramatic announcements on climate change to hosting major meetings on global crises and prodding Europe on greater fiscal and military integration, have inevitably snagged international headlines. His latest Middle East foray is no different.
But opinions swing wildly about the president’s motives and tactics, with some suggesting he aims to reboot France’s Arab strategy, fill a void left by Washington, or simply keep a sharp eye out for French strategic and commercial interests. Still other observers warn against French neocolonialism or of Paris insufficiently engaging its European allies.
“What is Macron up to in the Middle East?” Egypt’s English-language Al Ahram weekly wrote on Tuesday, summing up a broader question raised by commentators.