Transatlantic ties: Macron to the rescue?

French President Emmanuel Macron says that he has reached a consensus on a new deal with Iran with his host Donald Trump. Europe's press is closely following Macron's three-day visit to the White House since the Frenchman seems to be far more adept at dealing with Trump than other leaders. But for some journalists this itself is a cause of concern.

Open/close all quotes
De Morgen (BE) /

A scary friendship

Macron and Trump made a display of close friendship in Washington but De Morgen doesn't find this soothing:

“With his visit to the US President Macron has once again proven himself the man who understands Trump and speaks his language. The man who knows how to calm, praise and tame the bear. But no one can rule out the possibility that this bear, hunted by individual prosecutors and the media, won't lash out with his claws again. ... The photos have something disquieting about them. If it's true that the French president is trying to assuage Trump to get the US on board on the nuclear agreement with Iran, this is no reason for optimism. The fact that an agreement that is so important for global stability depends on the mood of a world leader is actually pretty scary.”

Der Standard (AT) /

Trump can't be trusted

Emmanuel Macron is taking a big risk with his overtures to Donald Trump, Der Standard believes:

“He hopes to build up a reliable relationship with Trump and stabilise the Western Alliance, which has been in danger ever since Trump's inauguration in January 2017. To this end the internationalist Macron is ready to curry favour with the nationalist Trump, and stand at his side as a true ally. ... Any reassurances Macron brings home with him from Washington won't last for long, however, despite the personal chemistry between the two leaders. Washington is full of people who have supported Trump and then been given the cold shoulder at the first opportunity. The political capital Macron is investing will no doubt prove a waste of time with the next shift in US foreign policy at the latest.”

Revista 22 (RO) /

On the same wavelength

Macron has a few things in common with the US president, finds the weekly paper Revista 22:

“Both of them are outsiders to a certain extent, and judging by their own statements and those of their respective inner circles they appear to have built up quite a close relationship. The press on both sides of the Atlantic has written that Trump and Macron talk on the phone every week, whereas the American head of state hasn't exchanged a word with Angela Merkel for the past five months. As odd as it may sound, Macron and Trump both believe in no-frills diplomacy, even if their priorities are different.”

Ouest-France (FR) /

Protecting a shared legacy

Historian and political scientist Nicole Bacharan describes the burden of responsibility that Macron carries:

“In addition to observing all the postures dictated by protocol and the obligatory smiles between the first ladies, the Frenchman must seek compromises: he must flatter a little, and put up a little resistance here and there, but never close the door on dialogue. Theresa May is now out of the game and Angela Merkel is weakened. Emmanuel Macron knows that his mission goes far beyond his own mandate. What he'll be bringing to the White House and Congress is the word of Europe and democracy. As if the Old World were now reminding the New World of a common legacy. It's up to Macron to convince his listeners that shared interests must win out over disagreements - for everyone's sake.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

May and Merkel being sidelined

All Europe's hopes are pinned on Macron as he visits the US, writes Hospodářské noviny:

“Of all Europe's politicians only he can succeed here. Despite all the traditional talk about the special American-British relationship, Trump has hardly displayed any warmness towards Prime Minister May. And we can forget the German chancellor in this respect. The right question now is not how the French president can succeed with the trust he enjoys, but what American-European relations will look like if he doesn't.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Nothing achieved so far

So far the French president has failed to change Donald Trump's mind on any contentious issues, The Guardian points out:

“Thus far, his record is not impressive. ... He has pressed the US president to reverse his abandonment of the Paris climate accord, to keep the US engaged in Syria to constrain the Assad regime, to hold off on his wish to pull out of the Iran nuclear accord and to pull back from his planned tariffs on EU goods. None of these has succeeded. If he can shift Mr Trump on any of them, Iran in particular, it would be a surprise and a coup.”