“We are not at war with Russia. » Emmanuel Macron made this reminder in the middle of the fifteen minutes of his speech, Wednesday March 2 in the evening, devoted to the invasion of Ukraine. The precision, no doubt, was useful after the president listed the sanctions that have been raining down on Russia since the beginning of his offensive, and condemned Vladimir Putin’s initiative in particularly strong terms. Accusing his Russian counterpart of having “denied one by one” his commitments, Emmanuel Macron considered that this war was “the fruit of a spirit of revenge, nourished by a revisionist reading of the history of Europe”.
→ RECAP’. War in Ukraine: find the main information for Wednesday, February 2
Despite these words, the French president, who has multiplied initiatives to try to avoid war, in particular by going to Moscow and Kiev in early February, still intends to play a diplomatic role in resolving the conflict.
→ EDITORIAL. Presidential 2022, time suspended
He spoke with Vladimir Putin on Monday February 28, and the Elysée ensures that he exchanges daily with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “I will stay in contact as much as I can and as much as necessary with President Putinconfirmed Emmanuel Macron, to convince him to give up arms, help as much as France can in the ongoing talks, and prevent any contagion and widening of the conflict. »
Profound changes, in France and in Europe
But at the heart of this speech was above all the president’s desire to prepare people’s minds for the consequences of this conflict. On February 24, in a previous address to the French, he had already described the Russian invasion as “a turning point in the history of Europe and our country”warning of his “lasting, profound consequences on our lives”. A statement that he reiterated during his visit to the Agricultural Show, and on which many speakers insisted during the debate in the National Assembly on this war, Tuesday, March 1.
The Head of State once again predicted “profound changes in the coming months”. He mentioned agriculture, industry and “the many sectors that will suffer” of the commercial break with Russia. “Our growth will inevitably be affected”he asserted, not without recalling that she was so far “at the top”. Rising prices, particularly of energy, “will have consequences on our purchasing power”he continued, citing “the price of refueling, heating, the cost of certain products”. Pledging to protect the French, Emmanuel Macron sent the “economic and social resilience plan” that the government is to present in the coming days.
→ THE FACTS. War in Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron calls for unity
More broadly, Emmanuel Macron reiterated his certainty that events in the East are “the signal of a change of era”. “The war in Europe no longer belongs to our history books (…)democracy is no longer an indisputable regime (…), our freedom is no longer a given. » Faced with this “return of the tragedy of history”which he has been theorizing for a long time, the president has promised to amplify “investment in defense” as well as “strategy of independence through investment in research and innovation”. Beyond that, he pleaded for a Europe “more independent and more sovereign” economically, energetically and militarily.
Still no job posting
As government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced at midday, Emmanuel Macron did not take advantage of this speech to formalize his candidacy for the presidential election. He contented himself with evoking it in conclusion and overhanging, saying he was sure that the campaign, “hit” by war, “will not prevent us from meeting on the essentials”.
→ANALYSIS. Presidential 2022: Emmanuel Macron accused of “dodging” the campaign
Time is running out, however, for the president who has until Friday March 4 at 6 p.m. to declare himself. His plans to enter the campaign, scheduled for last week, were swept away by the outbreak of war. After pushing back the deadline as late as possible, the one who promised to chair “until the last quarter of an hour” finds himself somewhat trapped by a crisis that requires all his concentration, and seems to be looking for a favorable window to get started. No one in his campaign team seems to know for sure when and how Emmanuel Macron will take the plunge. The answer is imminent.