English translation: make it less important ( in some way )
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14:59 Sep 6, 2006
English to English translations [PRO] Art/Literary - History / the Holy League
English term or phrase:downgrade the Mediterranean
"What if twenty-year-old King Charles IX of France had followed his heart and answered the summons of Pope Pius V to join the Holy League against the Turks in 1570? Instead he accepted the cautions of Queen-Mother Catherine de' Medici, and listened to Admiral Coligny's urging that he take advantage of Spain's distraction to make gains for France - and, as Coligny hoped, the Protestant cause. Following the league's great victory at Lepanto on October 7, 1571, in which its armada crushed the Turkish fleet, Philip II of Spain fretted about French designs and kept his half brother Don John of Austria, the league's commander, in port well into 1572. The Turks rebuilt their fleet and crushed Christian rebellions in Greece. Coligny's Huguenots invaded Philip II's Netherlands, to commence the costly two-front war that would compel Philip **to downgrade the Mediterranean**. By the time Don John mobilized the Holy League's entire force, the 1572 campaigning season was nearly over, and he achieved nothing. Though Coligny perished in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre on August 24, France persisted in a foreign policy hostile to Philip."
I don't understand how could Philip "downgrade the Mediterranean"... Could you please explain/rephrase? Many thanks in advance