France’s Emmanuel Macron leaving isolation after week with COVID-19


Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron no longer has virus symptoms and is leaving isolation after a week with COVID-19, but is urging the French public to limit their contacts and remain vigilant to keep infections under control during the Christmas holidays.

Macron’s office said on Thursday, local time, that he is finishing a week of isolation at a presidential retreat in Versailles based on French health protocols, which recommend seven days of confinement following the appearance of symptoms or a positive virus test.

French President Emmanuel Macron released a video while he was isolating in Versailles.Credit:@EmmanuelMacron via AP

In an apparently self-shot video from the presidential retreat last week, a tired-looking Macron said he was suffering from a dry cough, headaches and fatigue, and said negligence and bad luck led to him getting infected.

French authorities lifted virus restrictions for the holidays but infections remain high, and some doctors are urging new lockdown measures.



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French President Emmanuel Macron tests positive to coronavirus



French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for COVID-19 after a week of meetings with European leaders.

It is not yet known where he contracted the virus.

“The President of the Republic has been diagnosed positive for COVID-19 today,” his office said in a statement.

“This diagnosis was made following a PCR test performed at the onset of the first symptoms.”

Mr Macron’s office said he would isolate for the next seven days and would continue to run the country remotely.

A spokeswoman said all his trips had been cancelled, including an upcoming visit to Lebanon on December 22.

Mr Macron’s positive test comes just two days after France relaxed measures to curb a second wave of COVID-19, replacing a nationwide lockdown with a curfew.

Health authorities on Wednesday reported the highest increase in cases since November 21.

Mr Macron is the latest head of state to contract the virus.

US President Donald Trump tested positive in October.

Mr Macron’s office said the French President and his team were trying to assess where he could have contracted the virus.

Mr Macron was at a European Council heads of state meeting on December 10 and 11.

His schedule over the past week has also included a private dinner with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, during which he awarded him the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.



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French President Emmanuel Macron tests positive for coronavirus



French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for COVID-19, the presidency said on Thursday, adding he would now self-isolate for the next week.

“The president tested positive for COVID-19 today (Thursday),” it said in a statement, adding he had been tested after the “onset of the first symptoms”.

Mr Macron will now self isolate for seven days in accordance with national regulations, it said. 

“He will continue to work and carry out his activities remotely.” 

More to come. 



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Dans une France qui vire à droite, Gérald Darmanin se révèle indispensable à Emmanuel Macron


PARIS — Il a déclaré la guerre à l’“ennemi de l’intérieur” islamiste et aux rayons halal des supermarchés. Il a lancé une opération qu’il a qualifiée de “massive” visant 76 mosquées en France, et cherché à restreindre la diffusion d’images de policiers. Il a aussi affirmé qu’il “s’étouffait” quand il entendait le terme “violences policières” — raillant un appel à s’élever contre la brutalité d’agents de police parti des États-Unis et qui a résonné de part le monde.

Gérald Darmanin, le ministre français de l’Intérieur, est au coeur d’une triple crise politique affectant les dernières étapes de la présidence d’Emmanuel Macron, et qui concerne les questions de l’islam, de la brutalité policière et de la liberté de la presse.

Et rien n’indique que M. Darmanin soit près de céder.

Cette semaine, le jeune ministre de 38 ans fait la couverture de Paris Match, signe sans appel qu’il a transcendé la bulle politique parisienne et pénétré la conscience du grand public. Le gros titre du magazine, “L’épreuve du feu”, figure avec une photo du ministre, l’air pensif.

Vilipendé à gauche et objet de méfiance pour ses anciens collègues de droite, M. Darmanin, le ministre qui a la charge de la police française, s’est rendu indispensable à M. Macron à un moment où une majorité de Français réclament l’ordre et la fermeté face à ce que le président nomme “l’islamisme” après une série d’attaques terroristes.

“Pour Emmanuel Macron, il est sa caution à droite”, estime Boris Vallaud, un parlementaire socialiste de premier plan, au sujet de M. Darmanin. “Il y a une exigence d’ordre en ce moment. Sur tout le terrain des libertés publiques, de la religion, il laisse son ministre aller de l’avant — jusqu’au jour où il tirera sur la laisse.”

Pour l’instant, la laisse n’a pas été tirée.

Pugnace et ambitieux M. Darmanin est, pour M. Macron, l’homme tout trouvé pour ce moment politique qui voit la France prendre un net virage à droite. Des jihadistes isolés assassinent des citoyens français; M. Darmanin ordonne un coup de filet sur les musulmans suspectés d’extrémisme. La police est accusée de brutalité et de racisme dans la foulée d’incidents violents; M. Darmanin prend leur défense, avançant qu’ils ont surtout besoin d’équipement et de conditions de travail meilleurs.

“Je voudrais leur dire qu’on leur doit aussi des excuses dans la façon dont nous les mettons dans la rue et qu’ils accompagnent au péril de leur vie des missions extrêmement difficiles”, a-t-il déclaré lors d’une audition parlementaire le mois dernier. Il a qualifié d’“actes indicibles” le passage à tabac filmé d’un producteur de musique Noir par la police, tout en insistant sur le fait qu’ils n’étaient que le fait d’“individus”.

La police souffre surtout d’un manque de formation, dit-il. Le prédecesseur de M. Darmanin au ministère de l’Intérieur, Christophe Castaner, a été remercié cet été pour avoir suggéré qu’il y a un racisme au sein de la police, provoquant la fureur des syndicats. M. Darmanin ne court pas ce risque. Il doit maintenant répondre à la colère des syndicats envers M. Macron, qui a osé faire des suggestions similaires lors d’une interview vendredi dernier avec le média en ligne Brut.

L’intervention du ministre à l’Assemblée Nationale a eu pour effet d’apaiser les puissants syndicats de police, de rassurer le crucial électorat de droite de M. Macron, et de faire signe à ceux qui ont été choqués par les violences. Elle ne peut que conforter la marche en avant d’un caméléon politique dont beaucoup pensent qu’il vise l’Elysée. Par certains aspects, elle reproduit l’exercice d’équilibrisme auquel se livre M. Macron, toujours sur la corde raide entre la gauche et la droite.

M. Macron était si désireux de garder M. Darmanin — qui était ministre de l’Action et des Comptes Publics avant de passer à l’Intérieur en juillet — qu’il a rangé de côté une accusation de viol contre le ministre datant de 2009 pour laquelle une enquête est toujours en cours.

Lors d’une interview cet été, interrogé sur l’opportunité de rouvrir l’enquête sur les accusations, il a répondu qu’“il ne m’appartient pas d’en juger”. Entre lui et M. Darmanin, a-t-il ajouté, “il y a aussi une relation de confiance, d’homme à homme.”

Ces mots ainsi que la nomination de M. Darmanin ont provoqué l’ire des féministes françaises, qui ont organisé des manifestations sur plusieurs jours, lesquelles ont pris fin dans l’indifférence générale. Les documents du tribunal et les témoignages dans cette affaire peuvent suggérer que M. Darmanin, avant de devenir ministre, s’est servi de sa position d’autorité pour obtenir des relations sexuelles avec une femme venue quérir son aide. M. Darmanin a reconnu les relations mais a insisté qu’elles étaient consenties.

L’affaire a été largement éludée — les avocats du ministre ont récemment obtenu le report d’une comparution devant les enquêteurs. M. Darmanin s’attèle désormais à une tâche à laquelle son prédécesseur avait échoué, celle d’apaiser la police dand un pays qui détient le ratio de fonctionnaire des forces intérieures par habitant parmi les plus élevés d’Europe. M. Macron sait bien ce qu’il doit à la police nationale française: ce sont les tactiques toujours plus fermes qui ont permis de mettre un terme au mouvement populaire des Gilets Jaunes qui menaçait sa présidence en 2018.

“Darmanin est quelqu’un qui s’adapte aux circonstances de façon très impressionnante”, juge Pierre Mathiot, le directeur de l’Institut d’études politiques de Lille, où M. Darmanin a étudié, et qui connaît ce dernier depuis plusieurs décennies.

“Donc, il a compris qu’il doit être ministre de la police. Et non pas des personnes en relation avec elle”, dit-il. “Il se sert de cette crise pour obtenir davantage que Castaner pour la police.” Il ajoute que M. Darmanin profitera de la proposition de restreindre la diffusion d’images de la police pour obtenir davantage de moyens pour celle-ci.

Les détracteurs de M. Darmanin ont du mal à le situer sur l’échiquier politique, voire culturel, illustrant combien il est utile à M. Macron, qui revendique lui-même une place au centre. Est-il à droite? Du centre? Un peu à gauche, peut-être, en raison de ses origines familiales modestes?

“C’est difficile de dire s’il est autoritaire ou non”, estime M. Mathiot. “Je ne pense pas qu’il soit si différent de Macron.”

M. Darmanin ne fait certainement pas partie de l’élite économique et culturelle qui garnit les rangs des collaborateurs du président. Son père tenait un bar à Valenciennes, dans le nord industriel, et sa mère faisait des ménages à la Banque de France. Le grand-père musulman de M. Darmanin avait combattu aux côtés des Français lors la guerre d’indépendance de l’Algérie, et son deuxième prénom est Moussa.

Les collaborateurs de M. Darmanin ne l’ont pas rendu disponible pour une interview. Si une demi-douzaine d’anciens collègues parlementaires de son ancien parti de centre-droit n’ont pas donné suite à des demandes d’interview, certains n’hésitent pas à fait part en public de leur amertume à son égard pour les avoir quittés pour rejoindre M. Macron.

“Il vient d’un milieu très populaire”, a expliqué l’un des principaux collaborateurs de M. Darmanin lors d’une interview, “et son idée, c’est que vous devez parler davantage aux gens. Il est l’incarnation de la droite ouvrière.” Le collaborateur a demandé à ne pas être cité nommément en vertu des règles qui prévalent dans les ministères français.

Avant que M. Macron ne le recrute en 2017, ses références politiques étaient incontestablement à droite. Il a dirigé la campagne de l’ancien président Nicolas Sarkozy lors de sa tentative infructueuse de retour au pouvoir en 2016. Il a été maire de Tourcoing, la ville industrielle au nord du pays (ses collaborateurs disent qu’il y retourne souvent arpenter les marchés pour dialoguer avec ses anciens administrés). Il a aussi été député de son département d’origine, au nord, dans les rangs du principal parti de centre-droit.

À l’Assemblée, il succédait à Christian Vanneste, l’homme politique qui lui avait mis le pied à l’étrier comme stagiaire mais qui avait été forcé par la suite de quitter le parti — M. Vanneste dit qu’il a démissionné — en raison de son homophobie flagrante. Saisissant l’occasion, M. Darmanin s’est présenté contre lui et a gagné. M. Vanneste ne le lui a jamais pardonné.

“C’est un carriériste et un arriviste absolument pitoyable”, dit M. Vanneste. “Il m’a trahi, c’est tout. On ne mord pas la main qui vous nourrit.”

D’autres ont un point de vue quelque peu plus nuancé.

“Ce qu’il essaie de faire, c’est de saisir les opportunités du moment pour se placer”, tempère le député centriste Charles de Courson. “Et Macron tente de s’en servir, pour écraser la droite.”



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It was like the world was coming to an end. Everything was cancelled | Emmanuel Asante | Australia news


Name: Emmanuel Asante

Age: 24

Dreams of: Being an art teacher

10 December

It took me three months to pick up a pencil

My name is Emmanuel Asante. I’m 24 and I’m an artist. I paint murals. I’m a public speaker as well. I sometimes combine the two. I live in western Sydney with my siblings and my mum. So there are six of us in the house.

How Australia appreciates art is one of my favourite things. Australia is home to me now, but I’m from Ghana. Back home, art is not something that is appreciated. When I was a kid I used to show my teacher my drawings and I’d get praise. But after I was 11 or 12, I was constantly reminded I shouldn’t draw. Mum always wanted me to become a lawyer or a pastor. When I came to Australia in 2015 the subjects at school were different. They offered visual arts, and I was like, “Yeah, I’ll give it a try.” People kept telling me there’s no career in arts. There’s no money in arts. I should stop wasting my time. But my teacher encouraged me. That’s why I decided I would be an artist. My dream is to become an art teacher.

Making the decision to become an artist was a huge step for me because I had to go against people that I look up to in life. It was really very, very hard for me. Still, after high school I took my portfolio of drawings to the National Art School to apply for a spot and they offered me a place. The administration said that there could be some fee help, but I’m not a citizen yet. I’ve got permanent residency. I would have to pay my fees upfront to get any help financially. And I was like “There’s no way I can get $12,000 in two or three months”, so I deferred the offer.

When I deferred my offer from the National Art School my parents stopped supporting me financially. They had agreed that while I was studying they would support me, but because I wasn’t studying I had to take care of myself. My brother linked me to a labour hire company that did warehouse fulfilment for an online fashion retailer, and I worked with them for six to eight months while also doing a bit of work as a professional artist. Then, in November last year, we were told that there would be no work for us in 2020 because the agency’s contract had not been renewed. They suggested we try to get work with the new agency. I tried moving, but there was no work to be filled.

So I had no job, but I was doing some public speaking. It wasn’t frequent, but the money I would get I would use to pay rent and survive. It wasn’t much but it was alright. Then Covid-19 hit. All my appointments got cancelled. I had been applying for art competitions as well, but shows got cancelled due to Covid. It was like the world was coming to an end. Everything was cancelled. I was very anxious. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where the money was going to come from. I had already lost my job, this little extra income was gone and now Covid was coming. I had trouble sleeping. I worried how I was going to survive.

It was hard. I had to call my counsellors, at Headspace, who helped me. I was losing my mind at that stage. I talked to them once a month. It really helped. Another charity, Settlement Services International, also helped. They sent me art materials and supplies so I could do art during that time. It took me three months after the lockdown started to pick up a pencil to draw, even though they’d given me the stuff. That’s how depressed and anxious I was.

Now things feel a bit better. I don’t think I can go back to National Art School because I can’t get the money for the fees. I’m going to go to Tafe next year to study graphic design. I want to get a certificate in the arts, then I hope I’ll get my citizenship. If I get my citizenship then I’ll go to university.

Now that everything has calmed down I have managed to get some art exhibitions under my belt. I still don’t have a job. I’m still just managing. But work is slowly, slowly starting to trickle in. I felt like I was dead, but now I’ve been resurrected.

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High school footballer, tackle referee, Edinburg High School, Emmanuel Duron


A Texas high school football star has captured the attention of America but all for the wrong reasons.

In a match between Edinburg High School and Pharr-San Juan-Alamo, Edinburg’s senior defensive lineman Emmanuel Duron ran onto the field and put a massive hit on 58-year-old referee Fred Gracia.

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The official had just announced that Duron had been disqualified from the game when the incident occurred.

Duron, who was the district defensive player of the year, reacted recklessly to being ejected for two penalties.

After levelling Gracia he had to be restrained by coaches and teammates and was ultimately escorted from the field by police.

He was later charged with assault and held in jail on a $10,000 bond.

The Monitor of McAllen reported Gracia was assessed in an ambulance for concussion symptoms after the monster hit.

The incident didn’t stop Edinburg sealing a 35-21 win to qualify for the playoffs. But they have been disqualified because of Duron’s actions.

“The district has decided to remove the Edinburg High School football team from the playoffs after an unexpected incident involving a student that occurred during a football game on December 3, 2020,” the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District announced Friday. ”We extend a sincere apology to the referee and his family. On behalf of the Edinburg CISD Board of Trustees and administration, we apologise to the athletes, staff, and our school community.

“We will take the appropriate disciplinary action once we understand the facts and circumstances underlining this incident. The district takes these matters very seriously; however, we cannot comment further on a pending investigation.”

Social media erupted over the incident.

Brownsville News’ Andrew McCulloch called it a “really ugly moment” while also sharing what Duron had seemingly given up in the moment of madness.

“On top having an all-area caliber season on the defensive line for Edinburg High, Duron was positioned to compete for a state wrestling title too. Hard to see that happening now,” he wrote on Twitter.



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Jaxson Kirkwood, Montgomery White, Emmanuel Umunakwe face court over Weston skatepark fight | The Canberra Times


news, crime, Weston skatepark, Jaxson Kirkwood, Montgomery White, Emmanuel Umunakwe

An 18-year-old fatally stabbed at Weston skatepark was grabbed and beaten by three men before another teenager landed the final blows, police allege. Jaxson Dillon Kirkwood, 25, Emmanuel Umunakwe, 19, Montgomery Cole White, 18, and another 18-year-old are the latest people to have been arrested over an alleged incident at the skatepark. They all fronted the ACT courts on Friday and were granted bail, which prosecutors did not oppose. Mr White pleaded not guilty to affray, common assault by joint commission and damaging property by joint commission, while Mr Kirkwood and Mr Umunakwe did not enter pleas to the same charges. The other 18-year-old did not enter a plea to one charge of being knowingly concerned with affray. He cannot be named because he was 17 at the time of the incident. Police say the group of four were among several people who, on September 27, turned up at Weston skatepark after hearing about a fight that was meant to take place between two teenagers. They allege Mr Kirkwood, Mr White and the 18-year-old attended after Mr Umunakwe spoke to one of the teenagers, who requested back up at the fight in case “things went south”. The teenager who requested backup after agreeing to the fight has not been before the courts. The other teenager who agreed to fight, a 16-year-old, was driven to the skatepark by his 18-year-old cousin. The 16-year-old ended up with two stab wounds. The 18-year-old ended up with six stab wounds, dead on the ground near a car. When the cousins arrived at the skatepark, it’s alleged three young people – including the alleged murderer – approached the 16-year-old cousin on the passenger’s side of the car and engaged in a “physical altercation” with him. It’s alleged that, in the meantime, the four men who faced court on Friday – Mr Kirkwood, Mr White, Mr Umunakwe and the 18-year-old who cannot be named – approached the driver’s side of the car, where the 18-year-old cousin was. Police say Mr White opened the car door and another physical altercation ensued, in which Mr White punched the 18-year-old victim in his head and rib. Mr Kirkwood allegedly punched the 18-year-old victim about five times and Mr Umunakwe grabbed his arms from behind to stop him fighting back. After Mr Kirkwood, Mr White and Mr Umunakwe armed themselves with a pickaxe, shovel and a plastic rake, respectively, they allegedly hit the car and then left. One of the cousins, the 16-year-old, had fled the fight on foot, but later came back and found his 18-year-old cousin dead near the car. READ MORE: Police allege a 16-year-old boy who at first took aim at the youngest cousin later turned on the eldest and stabbed him to death. The accused killer has pleaded not guilty to four charges including murder and affray and the matter is before the ACT Children’s Court. When Magistrate James Stewart granted Mr White bail on Friday, he warned the 18-year-old: “You’re only young, you need to understand these charges are serious.” He said “bail is precious”, and noted both Mr White and Mr Kirkwood would next appear in court on February 23. Mr Umunakwe’s lawyer, Kate Gunther, told the magistrate her client’s matter had prospects of resolving, so Mr Umunakwe is due back in court on January 15. The other 18-year-old is due back in the ACT Children’s Court on February 22, when the alleged murderer and another teenager charged with affray are also due to appear.

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Emmanuel Macron says video of Paris police beating black man is ‘shameful for all of us’ | World News


French President Emmanuel Macron has said footage showing Paris police attacking a black man was “unacceptable” and “shameful”.

An investigation has been launched into the violent arrest of Michel Zecler, a music producer who says he was racially abused by officers on Saturday.

The incident was captured on CCTV and mobile footage, and was circulated widely.

Image:
Michel Zecler said he was racially abused by French police

The officers involved have been suspended and are currently being held for questioning, according to the Paris Prosecutor’s Office.

The police watchdog are also looking into the case.

In a statement posted to Facebook on Friday, Mr Macron said the government needed to restore public confidence in the police.

More from Emmanuel Macron

“The images we have all seen of the aggression against Michel Zecler are unacceptable, they are shameful for all of us,” he said.

France should never allow violence or brutality, no matter who it comes from.

“France should never let hate or racism prosper.”

The French president added that the country’s police should lead at the forefront and by example.

“Those whose job it is to apply the law should respect the law,” he said.

French president
Image:
Emmanuel Macron said the incident was ‘unacceptable’ and ‘shameful’

Footage of the incident shows officers following Mr Zecler inside his music studio, where he is punched and beaten with a truncheon.

Mr Zecler told reporters on Thursday he had been walking around nearby without a face mask – against French COVID-19 health protocols – and upon seeing a police car, went into his music studio to avoid getting a fine.

The incident was captured on closed circuit television which was obtained by the LoopSider news organisation.c
Image:
The incident was captured on CCTV

However, the police allegedly followed him inside and attacked him.

“I was lucky enough, unlike many other people, to have had the video that protects me,” Zecler told reporters on Thursday.

The incident risks inflaming racial tensions in Paris, in the backdrop of repeated allegations of police brutality against black and other ethnic minority people and supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Dominique Sopo, president of the anti-racism group SOS Racisme said Mr Zecler was the target of a “racist attack”.

He said: “For police officers to act that way, they must have a tremendous feeling of impunity.

“This situation is a symptom of an impunity that has been going on for too long.”

The city’s police force has already faced criticism this week after people posted videos on social media of police hitting demonstrators as they cleared a migrant camp in central Paris on Monday.



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Bus seat row sees Club Brugge drop Emmanuel Dennis for Borussia Dortmund clash


The visitors should have gone in front inside four minutes as Timo Werner inexplicably blasted over from close range with the goal gaping.

Hudson-Odoi’s low cross just needed to be steered into the net, but the German forward fired well over the bar from six yards out.

Giroud (right) scored the stoppage-time winner five minutes after Rennes appeared to have snatched a point at home.Credit:AP

They did grab the lead midway through the first half though when Mason Mount’s pinpoint 50-yard pass behind the Rennes defence allowed Hudson-Odoi to sprint clear, before he showed excellent control and provided a cool finish past Alfred Gomis.

Gomis saved brilliantly from Mount, but it was Mendy who was the busier of the two goalkeepers. He was finally beaten on 85 minutes as Guirassy was left unmarked at a corner and powered his header into the net.

It looked to have sealed a point for the home side, but when Rennes gave up possession just outside their box, Hakim Ziyech set up Werner, whose shot was saved by Gomis, only for Giroud to head in the rebound.

Meanwhile, a squabble over seating arrangements on the team bus cost Club Brugge forward Emmanuel Dennis a place in the squad for Tuesday’s clash at Borussia Dortmund, Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported.

Emmanuel Dennis will miss Club Brugge's Champions League trip to Borussia Dortmund.

Emmanuel Dennis will miss Club Brugge’s Champions League trip to Borussia Dortmund.Credit:Getty

The 23-year-old Nigerian stormed off the bus after being told he was not allowed to sit in his preferred seat due to social distancing measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the report said, and he did not make the trip to Germany.

Brugge manager Philippe Clement said in his pre-match news conference on Monday that Dennis was fit but unavailable for selection due to disciplinary reasons.

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“He didn’t follow the club’s rules, that’s all I want to say about that … I prefer to concentrate on the players who are available to me,” Clement added.

Dennis, who joined Brugge in 2017, scored twice in their 2-2 Champions League draw at Real Madrid last season.

He also netted in the Belgian club’s victory over Zenit St Petersburg in their opening group match in Europe’s elite club competition this season.

Brugge are third in Group F with four points from three games, behind leaders Dortmund and Italy’s Lazio.

Reuters

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Charlemagne – A Biden presidency would offer Emmanuel Macron a tempting opportunity | Europe


THE SOUND of crunched knuckles was an early alert. There he was, freshly elected and not yet 40, clenching the hand of the leader of the free world with the insouciant confidence of the neophyte. Shortly after his election in 2017, Emmanuel Macron then treated Donald Trump to dinner (up the Eiffel Tower!) and a Bastille Day parade (a military flypast!) as part of a courtship that led some observers to call the French president the “Trump whisperer”. “He’s a great guy…loves holding my hand,” enthused Mr Trump.

In the end, it did not work out so well for Mr Macron. Mr Trump pulled America out of the Paris climate deal, and tore up the nuclear non-proliferation agreement with Iran. Although they still talk regularly, and Mr Macron came tantalisingly close to bringing America and Iran together last year, the pair have clashed over wine, tech, aeroplanes, NATO and more. The American president has proved largely immune to Mr Macron’s charm offensive. If Mr Trump is drawn to a European leader, it is Boris Johnson, whom he once called “Britain Trump”—the highest praise he can imagine.

Yet with the prospect of the Trump years now drawing to a close, a different opening beckons. Mr Macron is nothing if not pragmatic, and should Joe Biden be elected on November 3rd, the French leader could find himself well placed to seize a new opportunity: to establish himself as America’s interlocutor of choice in Europe. The circumstances are favourable. Mr Trump has trampled all over the transatlantic alliance, and left America without a proper working tie to the continent. Brexit has rendered Britain “less useful” to America, in the words of Peter Ricketts, a British former national security adviser. It is also perceived to be less trustworthy. Already Mr Biden, of Irish Catholic stock, has warned Britain not to let the Anglo-Irish agreement become a casualty of Brexit. To be sure, the reflex for a President Biden might well be to turn to Germany instead, not least to fix the damage wrought on that friendship by Mr Trump. As the doyenne of the European Union’s leaders, Angela Merkel would slip effortlessly into the part. But the chancellor is also in her last year in the job. Her successor is unknown, but the choices on offer are not inspiring.

Hence France’s chance. As it happens, Mr Macron has never met Mr Biden—although Barack Obama, just after he left office, called the French candidate before his election to wish him well. For the duration of the campaign, the Biden team has closed the doors to all foreign diplomats, to thwart any future charges of outside interference. But France has some unusually good connections. Antony Blinken, Mr Biden’s top foreign-policy adviser, spent his high-school years at a lycée in Paris, the Ecole Jeannine Manuel. He kept up his links, and was selected for the French-American Foundation “young leaders” programme, a few years before a certain Mr Macron was, too. Emmanuel Bonne, Mr Macron’s diplomatic adviser, knows Mr Blinken from his time at the French mission to the United Nations in New York. Mr Bonne’s predecessor at the Elysée, Philippe Etienne, is now France’s man in Washington. He took over from Gérard Araud, an energetic agent of French soft power, outspoken on Twitter and the host of memorable parties at the residence for le tout Washington.

Berlin and Paris would both welcome an America no longer bent on dividing Europe, committed to curbing climate change, reinforcing multilateralism and re-engaging with Iran. What sets France apart from Germany, though, is its ability to project military force. As it is, France relies on American backing for its counter-terrorist operations in the Sahel, and would welcome the engagement of a fellow internationalist. Mr Macron has often been frustrated by a lack of muscular partners—in dealing with Turkey, Libya, or other Mediterranean crises—and has ended up accused of acting unilaterally. Now he faces an ugly campaign of protests from Turkey to Qatar, following his defence of free speech and the right to caricature in response to the beheading of a schoolteacher who had shown pupils caricatures of Muhammad. He needs all the defenders of liberal democracy he can find.

Lone ranger

“The scene could be set nicely for Macron,” says Benjamin Haddad of the Atlantic Council in Washington. But there are two big caveats, beyond differences over Russia, China or even trade. One is that Mr Biden might not seek to deal with a single dominant leader, let alone one with a taste for showmanship. “Macron could emerge as a favoured interlocutor,” suggests Mr Araud, “but on the condition that he does this with others, and above all with Germany.”

The other is that a President Biden seeking to revive old alliances through existing structures would swiftly come across the new ones that Mr Macron is trying to forge. The world has shifted since the Obama years. The centrepiece of Mr Macron’s geostrategic thinking—his “operating software”, as a presidential adviser puts it—is “European sovereignty”. The organising principle is that Europeans need to do and make more for themselves, including on defence. Its corollary is that Americans would have to accept that Europeans will act more by, and for, themselves.

This puts Mr Macron on a collision course with the instincts of the American defence establishment. As Michel Duclos, a French ex-diplomat, notes in a paper for the Institut Montaigne, a think-tank, the risk is that a Biden administration might default to “a polite practice of consultation in exchange for unequivocal alignment with American positions”. Mr Macron’s case that he has no intention of undermining NATO remains to be made.

If anything, France may need to dampen expectations. Under Mr Obama, Europe was already fading from American sight. Yet Mr Biden would still need allies. And the chance to supplant Britain is an old instinct. A keen student of history, Mr Macron knows that France is America’s oldest ally—and that at a decisive moment for independence, at Yorktown in 1781, it was the Marquis de Lafayette who helped America to defeat the British.

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This article appeared in the Europe section of the print edition under the headline “Macron’s mission”

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