Her Campus writer Elle is spending her year abroad in France, so who better to give us an insight into new President Macron, and the fresh style of diplomacy he is bringing to the stage…
Over the last few months, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, elected in May 2017 has been regularly making the headlines in regard to his diplomatic trips. During the period of time where there are extreme changes to the status quo in diplomacy (Trump enter stage right), the perception of Macron’s new style of populist and cooperative diplomacy can be placed in stark contrast to the approaches of other world leaders. Macron has visited Senegal,alongside none other than Rihanna, campaigning for education, and it’s certain that there will more visits to come this year, but what can be predicted? Rounding up from a few generalizations on his previous state visits in the last 10 months since his election as President of the 5th republic, this is perhaps what we can look forward to.
Attempting the language of the country he is visiting. In early January, Macron posted a video on twitter of him learning Chinese phrases ready to repeat in front of the president Xi Jinping, this movement towards a more cooperative approach is something that will hopefully be followed by other leaders. Even though it’s not reasonable to assume leaders to be fluent in every language, a small effort and a few phrases prove to go a long way.
Giving gifts with symbolic or historic meanings. In an attempt to keep relations strong in a post-Brexit Britain, Macron has agreed to loan the UK the Bayeux Tapestry, which will be its first voyage out of the country for 950 years. The loan of the Bayeux Tapestry can be understood as a way of wooing the British, and keeping old allies close, even after Brexit. This follows on from the ‘horse diplomacy’ that was undertaken during the trip to Beijing, with the gift of a Republic Guard Horse to China. This gift, in response to the ‘panda-diplomacy’ of China, signals a movement of Macron, in both contexts, to be attempting to use symbolic gestures in order to maintain good relations with states.
The ‘diplomatic’ selfies. Mirroring that of the iconic 2014 Oscars selfie, there appears to be a new trend in Macron’s meetings with other leaders with an emphasis on selfies. Snapping shots with Theresa May, who later posted it to her twitter and yesterday, with the Tunisian president, shows the president to be taking a different approach to his use of the social media site in comparison to counterparts such as that of the United States.
What can be said is that he is definitely attempting a new style and setting new precedents with each visit that he makes. Macron’s attitude is certainly that of someone who wishes France to maintain good relationships with everyone, a viewpoint that in the current political climate, is an interesting turn, using modern technologies teamed with classic diplomatic traits of gift giving, to ensure France stays a power in the centre of global politics.