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Macron’s new leadership role in Europe

Seven months after his election, Emmanuel Macron has established himself as a force on the world stage. While some see in him the new “leader of Europe”, the Franco-German tandem remains crucial for implementing his ideas. EURACTIV Germany’s media partner “Der Tagesspiegel” reports.

When Emmanuel Macron speaks, one has often the impression that he is not standing behind a lectern but rather on a theatre stage. He lets his words resonate; his gestures are sometimes dramatic, but always forceful. In the upcoming week, Macron will turn 40 – he is the youngest president in French history. Some think of him as the new leader figure for Europe.

In any case, his role as French president is barely questioned in France. Last weekend, when the country was paying tribute to the rock legend Johnny Hallyday, Macron took the floor to speak in front of the Parisian Eglise de la Madeleine. The head of state encouraged the attendees to applause for the deceased singer, “so that the spirit of Rock’n’ Roll and Blues stays alive.”

Macron directed his live televised appeal to all the French, “no matter who you are.” While saying that, he clapped hands and heard the thousand-fold applause.

One can assume that many of Macron’s countrymen perceived this appearance rather than his political programme which the president absolved in the past few weeks. Hallyday was a down-to-earth singer who had fans everywhere: in Paris, but especially in the province, sometimes very omitted by the political elite.

The rock icon seemed to act as a link between the successful urbanites and the less privileged. And in a certain way, this is also Macron’s mission: To make France come to terms with itself – rather than leave it to the extreme right-wing Front National. For many, the singer was like “a friend, a brother”, Macron said in his eulogy. His fans supported him with an amount of energy “that shapes a nation.”

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