Speaking in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Morteza Makki referred to the French President’s remarks at a joint press conference with the European Commission president, in which he said that the EU would finalize the Union’s strategic compass and geopolitical strategy during the six-month presidency of France over it, and said: France is taking over the rotating presidency of the European Union at a time when the Union is faced with serious political, economic, security and health challenges.

Saying that it was thought that by the end of 2022, Europe and the world could get rid of the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak, offset its negative economic consequences and stand on the path to economic growth and prosperity, he noted: Although the EU had good economic growth in 2021 compared to the past, continuation of new coronavirus strains showed that the world must continue to wait for new measures to counter the coronavirus pandemic.

Serious, multifaceted problems of European Union

The analyst of Europe affairs stressed: The European Union is also facing serious economic and security problems due to economic and security considerations. It was said that with Britain leaving the Union, France and Germany, which had always pursued an independent defense-security policy, would be able to achieve independent security arrangements more easily, but due to lack of the will among the Union members in foreign policy and common security, and with the shift in the US foreign and security policy approaches from Europe to the Far East and the signing of the AUKUS Treaty, Europe is somehow in a state of strategic confusion and uncertainty.

Referring to the French president’s alignment with the European Commission head as the executive arm of the European Union, Makki said: Given the current situation, the EU does not seem to be able to easily achieve its security goals based on the independent defense policy.

Macron electoral challenges

He reminded that France is also facing tough conditions internally, adding: The most important development in the coming months is the discussion of the presidential election campaign in that country. Given the growth of the far right in France, there are huge concerns about changing political trends in that country. Macron is expected to have a tough yet successful campaign to retain him, but with the arrival of new candidates, especially far-right candidate Eric  Zemmour, Macron’s victory in the April election has been met with serious doubts.

Saying that despite the domestic and international situation, it is unlikely that we will see a serious change in the EU to advance political and defense convergence, the expert on Europe affairs noted: The crisis in Ukraine in the current situation has clearly shown that the Europeans have a long way to go to achieve an independent security and defense mechanism, and that there is a deep gap in the EU as to how to deal with major issues.

Makki explained: Eastern European countries are looking for serious political, economic and military action against Russia, and on the other hand, major European countries such as France and Germany are not following that policy and are seeking to manage tensions in the confrontation with Russia. Germany had explicitly stated that it was trying to contain the country by increasing its interdependence with Russia, and the two Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines were installed in the Black Sea as a result of such policy.

According to the expert on Europe affairs, public opinion on the continent is extremely sensitive to any military intervention or confrontation outside Europe or in the vicinity of its borders, which leads to the choice of conservative policies against military action against Russia.

Formulation of an independent defense strategy in the next six months!

He stressed: Given this set of developments, it does not seem that serious action will be taken in the next six months in the European Union in the direction of an independent defense strategy; rather, all the attention will be focused on France’s internal affairs and who will lead the country for the next five years at the Elysee Palace in April.

Regarding the consequences of the failure of France’s promises to establish an independent defense and security mechanism and its negative consequences in European public opinion and in confronting with the United States, Makki said: After World War II, the Europeans have always sought to move toward greater convergence to escape the shadow of the United States and the Soviet Union. Europe’s ultimate goal goes beyond political and economic convergence because they also seek defense and security convergence, because economic convergence alone cannot make them the center of power in the world.

He referred to the US attempts to maintain its military and security umbrella over Europe and create a rift there and continued: Now with Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, France is seeking to achieve its past aspirations for European independence, but the rifts and divisions of the past six decades will cause that in the near and medium term future we will not see an independent European Security agreement, and everything that happens will be meager and insufficient, and it does not seem to have much impact on Europe’s role-playing in the process of developments.

As for France’s targets ranging from the slogan of finalizing the strategic compass plan during the next six months, Makki noted: Certainly the French presidents are pursuing multilateral targets in adopting their European and transcontinental approaches, but Macron has not had a successful economic record in the past five years, and if he can now lead Europe on the path to independent defense-security arrangements, he can certainly use it in the election campaign.