Macron's victory bodes well for China-EU relations
02 May, 2022  |  Source:复旦发展研究院   |  Hits:1882

Authors: Jian Junbo, Ma Bin, Peng Zhongzhou, Yan Shaohua, Yao Xu, Zhang Ji, Zhang Xiaotong

Following the French presidential election, various Chinese experts recently presented their perspectives on topics ranging from European integration and Sino-European relations to policy recommendations that could influence future Sino-French relations.

The scholars are members of Europe Watch, a Fudan University academic community made up of European studies specialists.

Emmanuel Macron's victory saved European integration to some extent, the scholars hold. Confidence is of great significance to European integration. If the battle between Marine Le Pen and Macron was seen as the contest or confrontation between Europeanism and Euroscepticism, integration and disintegration, liberalism and conservatism, globalization and anti-globalization, then the former won.

Of course, the victory of Macron benefits European integration. Macron will vigorously promote European integration, such as European strategic autonomy, fiscal integration in the eurozone and the reform of the Schengen Area.

However, European integration will also face new challenges. One is the resistance of domestic populist forces. The existence of a large number of Le Pen supporters shows that there is a huge social tear in France, and Macron's great integration plan in Brussels must first pass the severe test of Paris.

The second is how to handle the relationship between France and Germany. With Angela Merkel's withdrawal from the German political arena, the "Germany-France axis" of European integration may change to the "France-Germany axis." However, Macron's attempt to "Frenchinize" Brussels and the change of power relations between Germany and France may have an impact on EU unity.

The third is America's attitude toward European integration. If the United States uses tactics of "divide and rule" through strengthening the relations with Central and Eastern Europe and intensifying conflicts with Western Europe, and undermines Europe's "defense independence," the European integration will also face great challenges.

Macron attaches importance to the Sino-French relationship, and it's expected he can handle the China-France relationship and also the Sino-European relationship as well in the future.

Macron is expected to continue the relatively pragmatic and balanced China policy. In the exchange between leaders of China and France held this February, the two sides reached a broad consensus on strengthening cooperation in agriculture, aviation, finance and green development. The re-election of Macron will help the this vision become a reality and expand the space for cooperation.

At the level of China-Europe relations, Macron's victory will help promote the positive agenda between China and the EU. As the rotating presidency of the European Union, Macron's France can play an active role in solving the disputes between China and EU on the Comprehensive Investment Agreement (CIA), and ease and promote the development of China-EU relations.

As permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and France can also strengthen cooperation and play a more active role in international and regional peace-building and global governance, deepening China-France and China-EU cooperation at the multilateral level and in third parties.

To better promote the development of Sino-French and China-EU relations, it is useful to put forward several constructive suggestions:

First, set up a "Sino-French strategic dialogue," guiding the two sides to cooperate bilaterally and with third parties, formulating basic principles and road maps of cooperation. Second, reform the cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries, and promote China's relations with all members of the EU at the European level. Third, consult with the EU to establish a "China-EU economic council," solving bilateral economic and trade problems in an institutionalized way, and creatively promoting China-EU cooperation in various fields such as economy, trade, energy, climate change, finance, agriculture and foreign aid.