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Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron called for a review of defense cooperation in the European Union – because, he said, the EU can no longer rely on the United States for its security. Macron said it was time for the EU to develop a strategic relationship with Turkey and to bring EU relations with Russia out of the Cold War and into the 21st century. On the same day, Macron threw down the gauntlet on Hungary, Italy and any other nationalist European country challenging his self-described “progressive” view of the EU’s future. Perhaps most significantly, France softened its hitherto hard-line position on Brexit. France, not Germany, has been the EU’s dominant voice on Brexit, and Paris’ softening means the European Commission may not be far behind.
That France has become the most outspoken champion of European integration is ironic. After World War II, France was one of integration’s most recalcitrant critics. That is admittedly a slight exaggeration – France