French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to block Albania and North Macedonia’s EU-membership bids has brought a symbolic end to the post-1989 era. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, both European and US leaders had recognized that an orderly expansion of the European project is key to European peace and prosperity.
Christopher R. Hill, former US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, was US Ambassador to Iraq, South Korea, Macedonia, and Poland, a US special envoy for Kosovo, a negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords, and the chief US negotiator with North Korea from 2005-2009. He is Chief Adviser to the Chancellor for Global Engagement and Professor of the Practice in Diplomacy at the University of Denver, and the author of Outpost.
Leaders of France, Germany and Britain, European signatories of Iran 2015 nuclear agreement, on Sunday said they are “extremely concerned” by the fuelling tension in the Gulf region, which they said likely to put the accord at risk unless the concerned parties join the same table of talks.
US trade authorities have initiated an investigation against France’s decision to tax digital giants, which are mostly US-based.
The French Parliament passed a new law to tax digital giants on Thursday, making France one of the first countries to tax “GAFA” companies, namely Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. In response, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it has initiated an investigation against the French law and its impact on US businesses.
The street rallies and riots across France over the past month represent the largest crisis of Emmanuel Macron’s presidency, and pose a direct threat to French leadership within the European Union. But while Macron has only himself to blame for the popular backlash, that doesn’t mean France or Europe would be better off without him.
Although the recent attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg, France, has sapped some of the energy from the Yellow Vest protests, the root causes of French voters’ discontent remain. At issue is not the need for reform, but rather the costs – and who should bear them.