Macron criticised over push for EU army by Italian MEPThe French President defended his long-sought dream of security and defence autonomy for the
Macron criticised over push for EU army by Italian MEP
The French President defended his long-sought dream of security and defence autonomy for the Brussels bloc as he warned NATO is no longer “pertinent” today. He urged Europe to defend its own interests and not “delegate its protection” to the US.
In a brutal attack on NATO, he urged the EU to move forward and focus on its own military cooperation.
Mr Macron told the FT: “I am a defender of European sovereignty, of strategic autonomy, not because I’m against NATO or because I doubt our American friends, but because I am lucid on the state of the world.
“Because I think we need a fair sharing of the burden and Europe cannot delegate its protection and the protection of its neighbourhood to the USA and so we have to do it together.”
But he added: “Nobody can tell me that today’s Nato is a structure that, in its foundations, is still pertinent.
EU news: Emmanuel Macron called for more defence and security autonomy for the EU
EU news: Emmanuel Macron said NATO is no longer ‘pertinent’
“It was founded to face down the Warsaw Pact. There is no more a Warsaw Pact.”
The comments come as President Macron prepares to meet US President Joe Biden, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a video call this afternoon.
The Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg will also be present at the meeting.
Speaking in December, Mr Stoltenberg dismissed President Macron’s pursuit of a European army.
READ MORE: EU army warning: US and UK at risk from European military
Emmanuel Macron said: ‘I am a defender of European sovereignty’
He said: “To protect Europe, we need the transatlantic bond, we need North America – the US and Canada.
“Any attempt to go alone, either for Europe or for North America, would be bad for all of us. We need to stand together.
“And any attempt to divide Europe from North America will not only weaken NATO but also divide Europe.
“So I welcome European unity, but European unity will not replace transatlantic unity.”
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Mr Macron’s support for a European army has been well documented.
In 2018, during an event to commemorate the centenary of the World War 1 armistice, he stressed the need for a “true, European army”, while insisting Europe could no longer rely on the US, then led by Donald Trump, who was defeated by Mr Biden in November.
Mr Macron said: “I want to build a real security dialogue with Russia, which is a country I respect, a European country – but we must have a Europe that can defend itself on its own without relying only on the United States.”
With reference to cyber-security, Mr Macron went further, suggesting the US could potentially be a hostile actor.
US military power
He added: “We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America.”
His position was underlined by French Minister for Europe Clement Beaune during an interview with French broadcaster CNews earlier this month.
In remarks which have likely raised eyebrows in the new administration of Joe Biden, Mr Beaune appeared to take a swipe at the new US President and question the USA’s commitment to Europe, while highlighting the threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia and Xi Jinping’s China.
Mr Beaune said: “The American want to do less for European defence, the French want to do more for European defence.
EU news: Clement Beaune said ‘the American want to do less for European defence’
“I think that’s the big European project for the years to come.
“Our European partners are close to this path.”
The French leader has however failed so far to convince his counterparts across the bloc.
Even the project for the Future Combat Air System signed with Germany and Spain is proving too difficult to complete for the French President.
Mr Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel are locking horns over the development of the joint fighter jet and some sources close to the project have warned the plans have become tangled in suspicion and divergences between Berlin and Paris.