Some notes about Macron's speech about Europe

14 May 2024


European sovereignty and strategic autonomy are often misunderstood, leading to unrealistic and harmful policies. Europe, as a set of enduring ideas, cannot "die." Sovereignty, a multifaceted concept, is different from strategic autonomy, which is criticized for promoting a false sense of independence and increasing bureaucracy. Effective policies require global cooperation, especially in areas like technology and migration. Macron's policies highlight contradictions, as reducing bureaucracy in France contrasts with increasing it at the EU level. Addressing modern global challenges necessitates interdependence and collaborative solutions, rather than isolationist approaches.

Such emotional behavior and thinking are wrong. For example, Europe is a set of ideas or different ideas about Europe. So, Europe cannot "die" and is not "mortal." One reason is that ideas have existed longer than most humans. 

Examining modern history, we see that discussions and institutions pertaining to 'Global Europe,' global development, the EU, and the world emerged during the 2000s and 2010s. This is not the EU's first foray into addressing global problems and challenges, underscoring its enduring role in international affairs. 

One challenge in discussing European sovereignty and 'strategic autonomy' is that they are not interchangeable terms, but rather represent contrasting behaviors. Sovereignty, often associated with nations or states, can manifest at various levels of politics and social development, from individual to global. The EU, for instance, operates under a system that blends confederal and federal institutional behaviors, demonstrating the existence of sovereignty at both local and EU levels. 

Regarding "strategic autonomy," it has been described by market-liberal organizations and thinkers as a buzzword for protectionism, special interests, and wishful thinking. A false belief that the EU can be autonomous regarding factors considered strategic. Such as regarding semiconductors for computers, agricultural products, carbon emissions, etc. The term is criticized because, for example: 

  • It gives the false impression that the EU can "do what we want globally without asking others." Thus, it promotes a false sense of independence instead of promoting the necessary interdependence. 

  • Will create more bureaucracy due to new decisions and programs (note that Macron is, according to the video, wishing to reduce bureaucracy) 

  • Denying the realities of global problems and challenges. There is no national or European sovereignty regarding climate change problems. 

One can discuss his ideas about the EU being less dependent on the USA regarding military factors in the negotiations in the UN system, but how easy is it to achieve that in practice? 
Regarding bureaucracy, Macron has a history of his government making decisions to reduce administration in France, which is historically one of the most centralized and administrated states. However, he also has a history of promoting more bureaucracy on the EU level. Note that the term bureaucracy in French lagnauge still has a more positive meaning. 

Also, since it states about "loosening state aid rules," in practice, that would mean more corruption and spending of tax payers' money on businesses favored by politicians and government officials. However, such behaviors, including protectionism/prevention, would only benefit particular companies and producers, worsening the overall global economy and making things more expensive for individual consumers. 

Also, when it comes to, for example, artificial intelligence, space, and quantum computers, such factors are of global importance and relevance. This means there is a need for more global integration, cooperation, and legislation regarding trade, markets, usage, data protection, standards, etc. And that can't be done with discriminatory decisions, arbitrary behaviors, baseless spending of public money, or false references to autonomy. The EU is interdependent on others, even on China, when it comes to the development of AI. 

Regarding migration. It is a good and accurate thing to argue against morally corrupted and inefficient proposals such as "outsourcing to Rwanda" for several reasons. One reason is that if "everyone" was doing so, it would become impossible only to force all refugees and asylum seekers to migrate to one or several countries. That is one of the reasons why more global integration and cooperation is needed. Another reason is that what has been happening in the UK is also about misleading and basically lying to the citizens and voters for politicians to show, as in a theater, how they can "do something" about migration. 

At the same time, Macron is making a similar mistake. In practice, communication about "stronger borders" is about making national borders more dangerous and inhuman. Currently, the EU is developing the same behaviors as the USA did during the 1990s and 2000s, called "the tough border paradox" = more guards + fences + walls = more people migrating and crossing borders irregularly and in dangerous ways. One of the reasons is that the absence of free movement and safe ways usually makes desperate individuals take dangerous routes and also stay in a country like the USA for as long time as possible, knowing that they only have one chance to stay, live, and work in the new country. Additionally, Frontex is already an institution known for scandals and problems. It would be better to abolish it and replace it with a new institution focusing on human security and global cooperation.  

In general, Macron's critical points presented here are: 

  • Overreacting 
  • Based on false and wrong assumptions of global development 
  • A speech based on "something for everyone." 
  • Contractionary and even impossible to implement 

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