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Monday, May 29, 2017
Macron Erupts on World Stage With Trump Snub and a Bromance
On a sun-kissed terrace overlooking the sea, the image of Emmanuel Macron and Justin Trudeau staring into each other’s eyes had social media swooning over the budding bromance between the two young leaders at the Group of Seven in Sicily.
But just 24 hours earlier in Brussels, Macron had crushed Donald Trump’s hand until his knuckles turned white and walked past the U.S. president to embrace German Chancellor Angela Merkel on the blue NATO welcome carpet.
At his debut on the world stage, the new French president revealed a steeliness that belies his 39 years and relative inexperience. There was the power play with Trump when during the war of handshakes he spoke at some length in French with no translator. He then spoke English with Theresa May, offering cooperation in light of the U.K. terror attack, while not ceding an inch on the prime minister’s request for parallel Brexit talks.
To be sure, Macron remains firmly in his honeymoon period and has a raft of challenges ahead -- he leads a country divided and drew much of his support from voters looking to stop Marine Le Pen. He’sinheritingan unemployment rate roughly double that of the U.K. and Germany, an economy that has lagged the euro-area average for three years and will need to cobble together some kind of majority after parliamentary elections next month.
Nonetheless, for Macron, three days of hanging out with many of the world’s most influential players from the new NATO headquarters to the ancient hill-top town of Taormina helped set the style and tone for his five-year presidency.
At a round table in a former monastery, six leaders argued with Trump on trade and climate change, with Macron particularly adamant that there could be no diluting of the Paris Agreement to accommodate the Americans. They left it that Trump would take, as the host Paolo Gentiloni put it, some time for “internal reflection” before making a decision.
Macron appeared to form a special bond with Trudeau, with television cameras lingering on the two Generation Xers strolling down the hill conversing in French while Trump, at 70 the oldest G-7 leader, stayed behind to wait for a golf cart to give him a lift through the narrow cobbled streets.
“Justin has been inspiring,” Macron said on Friday as the pair met for the first time since his election victory this month. “We belong to a generation of leaders that will deeply renew practices and a vision of global affairs.” READ MORE