By Sarina Rivlin-Sanders
Imagine you are Emmanuel Macron. You go to your speech at the World Economic Forum at Davos, knowing that Trump will speak from the same podium as you in 2 days, that he will rail against the global order and claim that globalisation and cooperation are redundant and should be thrown out in favour of closed walled nationalism. And you have one shot to defend said liberal world. What would you say? I challenge you to come up with a better speech than the one Emmanuel Macron delivered on the 24th of January.
It wasn’t just the jokes, (though the jokes were funny, a rarity in politics), “Obviously and fortunately, you didn’t invite anyone sceptical with global warming this year.” he remarked, tone utterly dry. It was also the way that he spoke with the utter confidence of a man who knows that he is increasingly seen as the last hope of the liberal established left. He struck a sober tone, discussing the previous failures of globalisation and the marginalised communities who feel left behind by it. This, however, did not stop his vision that globalisation, with an innovative and modernised France at the centre of it, is the way forward for Europe and indeed the world.
He emphasised the continued importance of Europe, in relations with the USA and China and called for a more ambitious vision for the EU. “Those who don’t want to move forward should not block the most ambitious people in the room.” He said, calling for greater action for a more united and more democratic EU.
Overall he carried out his task with aplomb and statesman-like calm, which was probably the point, in a fractured and divided world he wanted to emphasise that France can be the new lynchpin on which the West revolves.
Photograph: Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff via Flickr