Macron Email Leak: British Military Ties to France 'More Important' Than Flawed Germany-EU Plan (excerpt)
Emmanuel Macron was told before his election that maintaining defence ties with Britain was crucial and “more important” than flawed plans for EU military integration, according to leaked emails from the French president’s campaign team.
A trove of tens of thousands of emails released by Wikileaks on Monday showed senior Macron advisers arguing for continued British involvement in European defence projects while highlighting the bitter divisions between Paris and Berlin on EU defence co-operation.
The behind-the-scenes advice, which dates from before Mr Macron’s presidential win in May, paints a stark contrast with the European Union’s recent claims that Brexit could open the door to a new golden age of EU defence co-operation.
It also gives weight to British Brexit negotiators' belief that security and defence co-operation will be a key bargaining chip when negotiating the future relationship. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story (paywall), on The Telegraph website.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: We have contacted one of the authors of these emails asking for comment, and will post it when received.
It is clear that an Anglo-French defense axis
makes much more sense than a French-German one founded on the European Commission’s grab for control of European defense.
Furthermore, the German population is generally opposed to military spending and to foreign military operations, making its post-war governments reluctant to play any significant military role beyond the defense of national territory.
Consequently, in the absence of a direct threat to the German homeland, it is difficult to understand what advantage, other than – possibly – financial France could obtain by tying its defense to that of Germany.
The leaked emails also show that Macron’s policy, and the defense link-up with Germany, represents an unexplained, and possibly whimsical, about-turn compared to his campaign position, as there is no obvious advantage to be gained.)
Macron Bombshell: 'Britain's Too Important' President Told In Leaked Brexit Emails (excerpt)
In a major boost to British negotiators, leaked emails from the French president’s campaign team show how his chief officials believed securing a bilateral alliance with the UK is a top priority.
On the other hand, a clutch of scathing missives are derisive about Brussels’ military integration plans, describing them as foundation-less and at the mercy of German whims.
The leaks emails demonstrate the extent to which defence cooperation can be Britain’s trump card during the negotiations given our status as the continent’s number one military power.
But they will also raise fears that the UK Government has signed up to too many of the EU’s integrationist defence initiatives in recent months, potentially weakening that bargaining position.
The trove of emails, which contain messages sent by a handful of Mr Macron’s senior campaign staff as well as many more peripheral figures, have been released this morning by WikiLeaks.
Critics believe that the hacked data was provided to the whistle-blowing site by the Russian state, in the same way as the Hillary Clinton campaign emails published last Autumn, although just as then WikiLeaks denies this.
One of the emails, dated October 2 last year, contains a report written by Mr Macron’s industrial affairs advisor, Hervé Grandjean, for the French president’s chief speechwriter, Quentin Lafay.
It outlines the future of defence relations between Britain and France after Brexit, detailing how the two countries currently cooperate and what the UK leaving the EU might mean.
In it Mr Grandjean writes: “Brexit will necessarily have potentially contradictory effects on bilateral cooperation. Both governments have insisted on the preservation and strengthening of the bilateral partnership.”
He says that intelligence sharing, such as in counter-terrorism operations, will be a key area of cooperation in future but then goes on to question the value of the EU’s military plans.
The defence advisor writes: “In terms of multinational interventions and industrial cooperation, France is going to be caught between the temptation to seize Brexit to advance the CSDP [Common Security and Defence Policy - the EU’s military plans] and the desire to maintain a critical mass of exchanges with the British who - despite their present obvious withdrawal - remain the most important and the most active country in the field of defence.”
Mr Lafay acknowledges the email and says he will keep other senior Macron advisors, including colleague Clement Beaune, in the loop so they can inform the candidate’s policy.
In a second separate email, sent a week later, Mr Macron’s former defence advisor Francois Heisbourg shares an exchange with Mr Beaune about Brussels’ plans to integrate European militaries.
He delivers a scathing assessment of the bloc’s proposals for a Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) system, comparing it unfavourably to the incomplete eurozone.
And Mr Heisbourg suggests that the German government, often seen as a key champion of military integration, is less keen on the idea if it involves handing more cash over to Brussels.
He writes that the EU’s current defence plans are “overly ambitious” and have no proper foundations “a bit like a single currency that would like to live without either a central bank or an economic government”. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Daily Express website.