Macron’s return will ‘boost EU Indo-Pacific strategy, regional ties’
Emmanuel Macron’s victory can guarantee that France and the European Union will retain close ties with Thailand and Asean, some political observers believe.
Macron won a second term as president on April 24, and judging by policies in his first tenure, France and the rest of the EU can be expected to continue attaching importance to the region for the next five years.
When Macron was first elected in 2017, he showed significant interest in the Indo-Pacific area. He announced his Indo-Pacific Strategy during his Garden Island speech in Sydney in 2018.
Soon after he launched the initiative, the Netherlands, Germany and other EU countries announced their own Indo-Pacific plans.
France is chairing the EU Council for the first half of this year and it is believed that Macron will use this opportunity to step up EU policies on the Indo-Pacific region.
France is also seen as trying to boost Europe’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region as a third option to the United States and China, who have been fighting for dominance in the area.
The 10-nation-strong Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) forged close ties with France during Macron’s first tenure, as he considered Asean a key pillar of his Indo-Pacific Strategy.
Bilateral ties were further bolstered when France was given the status of “development partner of Asean on September 9, 2020.
Thailand, meanwhile, has maintained strong ties with France for a long while and both countries are now preparing to upgrade it to a strategic partnership in 2024, the observers said.
With Macron’s re-election, Thailand, which is already a key Indo-Pacific partner with the US, maybe in the spotlight as the three superpowers race for dominance in the region, the observers added.