The Economist states:

Europeans fear that China and Russia are edging towards the formation of a new bloc that will dominate Eurasia. Mr Macron’s pivot to Russia is in part intended to stop it from slipping into China’s grasp. It is better, he argues, to make some concessions to solve the Ukraine issue and restart relations with Moscow than to let the world’s largest country by land mass fall into Beijing’s orbit.

Did Emmanuel Macron actually say something like this or is the Economist just speculating what Macron may be thinking?

1 Answer 1


Macron said something along these lines at the Conference of Ambassadors, on August 27, 2019:

Je pense en plus que pousser la Russie loin de l'Europe est une profonde erreur stratégique parce que nous poussons la Russie soit à un isolement qui accroît les tensions, soit à s'allier avec d'autres grandes puissances comme la Chine, qui ne serait pas du tout notre intérêt.

roughly translated:

I also think that pushing Russia away from Europe is a profound strategic mistake because we are pushing Russia to an isolation that increases tensions, or to ally itself with other great powers like China, which would not be our interest at all.

He added:

C'est ce que nous poursuivons par un dialogue constant avec le Président POUTINE et nous allons mettre en place ce groupe de travail pour avancer sur cette architecture commune. Et évidemment l'un des sujets décisifs pour pouvoir avancer en ce sens c'est notre capacité à avancer sur le conflit russo-ukrainien, donc la mise en œuvre des accords de Minsk. A ce titre, les discussions récentes ont permis de voir des avancées concrètes qui nous conduiront avec la Chancelière à proposer pour les prochains jours un nouveau sommet en format Normandie.

This is what we are pursuing through a constant dialogue with President PUTIN and we will set up this working group to advance on this common architecture. And, of course, one of the decisive issues to move forward in this direction is our ability to move forward on the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, and thus the implementation of the Minsk agreements. As such, the recent discussions have seen concrete progress that will lead us with the Chancellor [Merkel] to propose for the next days a new summit in Normandy format.

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    I suspect the French POUTINE should be PUTIN in English as transliterations of the Russian Пу́тин. Otherwise it looks like a Canadian dish of french fries, cheese curds and gravy.
    – Henry
    Commented Oct 24, 2019 at 20:05
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    In addition, I am very certain that la Chancelière is a direct reference to Merkel (the female Federal Chancellor of Germany) which seems to get lost in the translation.
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 25, 2019 at 4:37
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    So if I've understood correctly, essentially The Economist interpreted Macron's "move forward" as a euphemism for "make some concessions"? Is there anything else that could be interpreted as "make concessions"? Commented Mar 18, 2022 at 10:29
  • @user56reinstatemonica8 I'm not sure how to objectively define 'concession" in this context. The writer at the Economist could be expressing the opinion that engagement over isolation and/or implementing the Minsk agreement would be tantamount to making concessions to Putin.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Mar 20, 2022 at 15:51

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