Key points

Emmanuel Macron makes a clear commitment to multilateralism and controlled globalization at a time when global governance is shaken by Donald Trump’s presidency. He is at the forefront of this struggle, and his success will depend on France’s ability to create coalitions able to preserve existing practices and institutions, as well as their underlying values.

Key dates

7 july 2017 - 8 july 2017

Emmanuel Macron visits the G20 summit in Hamburg

july 2017

29 august 2017

Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech to the French Ambassadors - announcement of an international diplomatic and legal conference "dedicated to the organization of our world" in Summer 2018

august 2017

13 september 2017

Designation of Paris as host city of the 2024 Olympic Games

september 2017

18 september 2017

Emmanuel Macron visits New York for the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations and addresses the United Nations

19 january 2018

Withdrawal of the French application for the Organization of the 2025 Universal Exhibition

january 2018

24 january 2018

Emmanuel Macron speaks at the Davos Forum

22 april 2018

Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Toronto

april 2018

Campaign promises

The expression “global governance” is not mentioned as such in candidate Macron’s campaign promises, yet the different domains it covers are quoted: security and crisis management, fight against terrorism, emergence of new international actors, role in the UN Security Council, human rights and international law, refugees, climate change, development, Francophonie, promotion of a European policy facing key challenges. The proposed approach is that of cooperation and of France’s active engagement in the construction of the future, by addressing major global issues.

Overview

Since the beginning of his mandate, the French President took part in a sequence of multilateral meetings: G7, G20, NATO Summit, General Assembly of the United Nations, EU-African Union Summit, COP23.

On each of these occasions, he defends the relevance of debates on cooperation that take place within these institutions and invigorate policies conducted by international organizations and States. Other symbolic gestures also reflect his commitments: a visit to the European Court of Human Rights (31st October 2017), references to the European Union’s global role in the Sorbonne speech (26th September 2017), his Davos speech (25th January 2018), his participation in the Dakar Education Summit (2nd February 2018), the invitation to the One Planet Summit in Paris (12th December 2017), the Paris Peace Forum on the occasion of the centenary of 11 November 1918.

During his first Conference of Ambassadors, he outlined a framework: “The order of 1989 has been unsettled: an order based on ultra-liberal globalization and the status as a superpower of a single State. We have a duty to rebuild a collective, stable and fair order with our allies and our partners“. Four common goods are identified: our planet, peace, justice and freedoms, culture. It is important to define strategies for each of them within the multilateral bodies in which France is present and active.

Analysis

France is facing a tricky context: the liberal international order is contested by the very power that was until recently its backbone, i.e. the United States. Moreover, the world is becoming increasingly multipolar and desperately needs more cooperation in order to cope with global challenges, such as climate change and migration.

The role of leadership in multicultural cooperation is vacant, the French President is engaging in this cooperation both by necessity and by vocation. He presents his views on global governance as he speaks at the UN General Assembly, at COP23 and in Davos. His voice reaches far; he catalyzes support for multilateralism around his action. Yet the headwinds are strong, the pace of progress in the aftermath of the Paris agreement is slow, protectionism returns, and gathering Europeans around many issues is problematic.

And now?

So far, the practices and the institutions of global governance have been resilient, the growth of economies and trade of all kinds has been carrying on, despite the vagaries of US and Chinese politics. However, governance is lacking in many areas: financial flows for development and climate, cybersecurity, digital technology, migration.

During his speech on 24 April 2018 in front of the American Congress, Emmanuel Macron urged the United States not to fall into the trap of nationalism, but rather to commit to preserving and reinventing multilateralism, which it has itself created. If the meeting on June 2018 preparing the G7 summit was the occasion to display a united front of great powers on the Russian threat and the Korean détente, it is worth noting that the Iran nuclear deal’s future is still up to the Americans, who will take their decision on 12 May.

In the context of Macron’s upcoming meetings –  summits in Spring, Francophonie, G7 summit, COP24 –, the French President is a key player in the fight to preserve multilateralism, to foster the necessary European coalitions and to promote common strategies. He can rely on his international authority and France’s assets, yet the game will be very tough, as the risks and stakes involved are high.