Macron says global political system in unprecedented crisis

PARIS • French President Emmanuel Macron yesterday said the global political system was in "unprecedented crisis", urging new kinds of alliances and cooperation to solve the world's problems.

Mr Macron's warning came days after the publication of an interview in which he argued that Nato was experiencing brain death and Europe risked becoming insignificant. His comments sent shock waves around EU capitals.

"We are experiencing an unprecedented crisis in our international system," he told the Paris Peace Forum, a France-backed group promoting global peace.

The French President, who has sought a prominent place on the global stage since coming to power in 2017, said "new ways of cooperation, new alliances" are needed between states and organisations, and complained that the United Nations has become "blocked".

Mr Macron lamented that while the global political and financial systems worked well after World War II, they are now in crisis. "The system was efficient for 70 years, but it allowed new inequalities to emerge," he said, adding: "A crisis of our democracy allowed unilateralism to be reborn."

He also warned against reluctance to question existing international institutions.

Mr Macron's interview with The Economist, published last Thursday and described as a revealing expose of his views, caused controversy in Europe, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying the comments were "drastic".

Possibly taking aim at his critics, Mr Macron yesterday said plain-speaking was essential. "I think we need the truth. Squeamishness or hypocrisy won't work. Silence is not a solution," he said.

In the interview, the French leader said the European Union had been brought "to the edge of a precipice" by a dwindling focus on political integration and the risk of the US and China emerging as the sole global powers.

"All this has led to the exceptional fragility of Europe which, if it can't think of itself as a global power, will disappear, because it will take a hard knock," he said.


Mr Macron said on Monday night that he and US President Donald Trump would meet before the Dec 4 Nato summit in London.

In a tweet, Mr Macron said he had held "an excellent telephone discussion" with Mr Trump, and they had talked about Syria, Iran and Nato. "We agreed on many things and will meet before the London Nato summit."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2019, with the headline 'Macron says global political system in unprecedented crisis'. Subscribe