00:00 GMT25 January 2020
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    After dropping a bombshell remark about “brain-dead” NATO, which prompted a backlash from France’s closest allies, French President Emmanuel Macron keeps shaking up the bloc. This week, the alliance’s “enfant terrible” stunned NATO hawks with his take on Russia, saying he does not believe that it is their enemy.

    French President Emmanuel Macron is shaking NATO to the core with his sensational statements as he is searching for foreign policy alternatives and a new role for Europe amid on-going quakes in international relations, Joern Leonhard of the University of Freiburg told the German outlet Bild.

    As the German scholar points out, Macron's policy towards Russia is conceivably contradictory as he both calls for Moscow to change its policies towards the country’s opposition forces and strives to end the diplomatic isolation of Russia.

    According to Leonhard, Macron is "increasingly sceptical” about the new world order, namely “the rapid erosion of the transatlantic relations between Europe and the US under Donald Trump” as well as the worsening tensions between China and the US.

    "What concerns the French president is what role Europe can play in a changed situation, which resulted in the warning to NATO, the search for foreign policy alternatives”, the expert told the outlet, adding that the French politician wanted to "accentuate Europe as an international actor" and test its room for manoeuvre.

    Leonard also noted that Macron's assessment that without Russia’s participation, solving the Syria crisis is unthinkable. The EU must have a vital interest in it, more so after the withdrawal of the US.

    Days before the significant NATO summit, as the organisation is celebrating its 70th anniversary, Macron urged the allies to re-shape their common strategy, defining goals and enemies. And, according to him, Russia is not among them.

    “Is our enemy today Russia? Or China? Is it the goal of NATO to designate them as enemies? I don’t believe so. Our common enemy today in NATO is terrorism, which has hit each of our countries”, he said during a presser with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

    Macron called on NATO to have a "lucid, robust and demanding dialogue with Russia".

    "The world has changed, the Iron Curtain has fallen, the Warsaw compact is gone and the alliance is still standing as the guarantor of our joint security. It requires that today we reconsider a number of important topics in this respect. First of all, lucid, robust and demanding dialogue with Russia. And I very much endorse the fact that I wanted to give new momentum to this dialogue", Macron told a press conference.

    The French president added that the dialogue with Russia was "in the interest of peace and stability" in Europe. Before that, in August, Macron said he was expecting Russia and the European Union to create a new European security architecture.

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    Tags:
    US, Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin, NATO, Russia, France
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