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Macron's China Visit Reveals EU Ambitions

French President Emmanuel Macron expects to leverage China’s global Belt and Road Initiative to build an “Alliance France-Europe-Chine," two Chinese observers argue in a new think piece

By Han Bingbin Updated Jan.12

French President Emmanuel Macron’s first official visit to China has revealed his ambition to reaffirm France’s role as a European Union heavyweight, according to an opinion piece co-written by Xiao Yunshang and Xue Sheng, teachers at the Department of French under Shanghai International Studies University.

Macron chose as his first stop the Chinese city of Xi’an, a key location on the Belt and Road Initiative, and while there proposed the concept of an "alliance France-Europe-Chine" – a French, European, and Chinese alliance. Writing for The Paper, the authors say Macron hopes to leverage China's global Belt and Road scheme as part of this. 

Climate change is among the key issues Macron sought to discuss with China on his visit. The president would know that without Chinese participation and support, the Paris Agreement – a key achievement of Macron’s political career – will not be implemented globally, the authors say. By securing a Chinese backflip to back the plan, France could well become a global leader on environmental issues.

France is apparently also seeking to leverage its position as permanent member of the UN Security Council, which could present an opportunity for China. Like China, Marcon supports multilateral global governance, the authors argue. A stronger Europe will contribute to this vision of a multi-polar world. An open and pro-globalization Europe will also provide abundant business opportunities for China, the article says.