Emmanuel Macron's African policy in the viewfinder of deputies

The exchange is rare enough to be highlighted

Emmanuel Macron's African policy in the viewfinder of deputies

The exchange is rare enough to be highlighted. Tuesday, November 21, in the evening, a debate on France's diplomatic strategy in Africa was held in the National Assembly between deputies and two government ministers. The various speeches were based on the thirty proposals developed by deputies Bruno Fuchs (MoDem) and Michèle Tabarot (LR) in a report from the parliamentary information mission presented on Wednesday November 8, which warned of the “illegible” doctrine » from France to Africa.

In the introduction, the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, called for “building respectful and responsible partnerships in which everyone assumes their reciprocal interests”. In the context of questioning the positions that Paris believed to be established, the head of diplomacy assured that French policy on the African continent "is bearing fruit", while deeming "legitimate the questions that may have given rise to the various crises which succeeded one another in the Sahel”.

While the French soldiers deployed in Niger are “in the process of being repatriated”, as Emmanuel Macron resolved to do on September 24 under duress from the putschists in power in Niamey, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, for his part insisted on the terrorist risk that “the situation in the Sahel poses” to Europe, although no attack has been ordered from this region, and on the “migratory risk” that would threaten it.

Take foreign policy out of the reserved domain of the head of state

Concerned not to "reduce Africa to the Sahel alone", Catherine Colonna notably highlighted the report led by Vincent Duclert on France's share of responsibility in the genocide of the Tutsi in Rwanda in 1994 and the restitution efforts. African art objects.

The only leading political figure to come and speak in the chamber, Marine Le Pen denounced “the absence of France’s African policy”. “Under Emmanuel Macron, underlined the president of the National Rally group in the Assembly, this policy disappeared in a magma of errors, inconsistencies and contradictions, of which the sinister Nigerien misadventure of recent months will have been the point of 'organ. »

Michèle Tabarot, LR MP and co-editor of the 175-page report which advocates a “change of style”, also singled out the public media which she accuses of being “in spite of themselves” a sounding board for anti-French speeches on the continent. The MP for the 9th constituency of the Alpes-Maritimes also believes that the government's policy suffers from the "original sin of the Ouagadougou speech which claimed to reinvent everything and which clearly failed". “We must ventilate foreign policy, open the reserved domain to make it a shared domain,” she added, proposing that at least two parliamentary debates on Africa be held each year.

Reforming visa policy and development aid

Criticism of the concentration of decisions at the Elysée and the lack of consultation in the government's action also resonates on the other side of the chamber. Several left-wing deputies notably called for strengthening the role of parliamentarians in the development of French foreign policy, like Anna Pic (Socialists and Related) who pleaded for “decision-making decentralization”.

Same story within La France insoumise which, through the voice of Arnaud Le Gall, suggested “putting an end to the tradition of erratic and purely formal debates, since they are not followed by any vote”.

In resonance with the report of the parliamentary fact-finding mission, several recommendations emerged from the debate, in particular on the necessary in-depth reform of public development assistance, the overhaul of the visa policy, perceived as "humiliating » by African elites, and the announced end of the CFA franc.