French President Macron recently hosted Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Paris.
It seems the two discussed the possibility of increasing Saudi Arabian production to lower the price of crude oil, and guaranteeing energy imports for France.
The meeting is partly a response to pressure to secure energy flows in the context of the war in Ukraine. For their part, other leaders have referred to the need to increase Saudi Arabian energy exportation. Before arriving in France, Mohammad bin Salman visited Greece, with which country his negotiations included the development of renewable energy sources.
The meeting with Macron also contributes to a general rehabilitation of the Saudi Arabian government’s image in the West, following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen. Indeed, the Crown Prince’s visit to Greece and France are his first trip to Europe since the details of Khashoggi’s death became known. As a consequence, human rights groups expressed their displeasure at the meeting.
Just as Italy has recently secured energy from Algeria, and in the context of Macron’s recent tour of African states, it seems we are witnessing the European pivot away from energy importation via Russia take the form of largely bilateral (as opposed to unilateral) diplomacy. This crisis, like others in the past, may fail to produce a common, European-level geostrategic orientation.