EU should stop being ‘naive’ about US strategic interests, says Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron said Europe must stop being “naive” and strengthen its own military power, following the signing of a security pact between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom in the Indo-Pacific.
In his first comments since announcing the so-called Aukus deal and the cancellation of a $ 36 billion French-led submarine deal, Macron on Tuesday stressed the need for “Europe to take care for its own protection “and to show” solidarity “between the Member States. .
Speaking at the Elysee Palace after signing a € 3 billion frigate contract with Greece, he said: “We are forced to note that for a little over 10 years now, the United States America have put themselves and their strategic interests at the forefront. . . We would be naive, or rather we would make a terrible mistake, not to. . . grasp all the consequences this has for ourselves.
He added: “We have to react and show that we have the power and the capacity to defend ourselves. Don’t make things worse, but protect ourselves.
However, he said the United States would remain an ally of the French and that strengthening European strategic ties did not serve as a “substitute” for this alliance.
The French leader’s call for a bolder EU defense strategy follows the country’s anger over the Aukus deal, which has sparked the biggest diplomatic dispute between Western allies since the invasion of the Iraq by the United States in 2003.
The comments came as Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis unveiled a military contract for the purchase of three Belharra frigates to be built in France by the state-controlled group Naval, the same company that was to provide 12 sub- sailors to Australia that have been canceled. after Canberra opted for American submarines instead.
The Greek contract provides for an option for the inclusion of an additional frigate if the Greek navy requires it. Earlier this year, Athens agreed to purchase up to 24 French Rafale fighter jets.
Mitsotakis said the deal would herald a “strategic partnership for defense and security cooperation,” meaning France would commit to backing Greece if tensions returned with Turkey. Greece will never forget the help it received from France in the summer of 2020 when Turkey claimed possible offshore oil and gas reserves in the disputed waters off Cyprus, a- he added.
“Our agreement paves the way for a future autonomous and strong Europe. A Europe which can defend its interests in its wider neighborhood, in the Mediterranean, in the Middle East, in the Sahel ”, declared Mitsotakis.
The Greek contract was a “sign of confidence as well as a demonstration of the quality offered by France,” Macron said.
He minimized the impact of the cancellation of the Australian contract. The economic benefits would be “limited” to “a few hundred jobs, mainly in engineering” because the submarines were to be built in Adelaide, he said. France’s Indo-Pacific strategy would not be affected, Macron insisted, adding that France’s ambassador to the United States, who had been recalled to protest the Aukus deal, would return to Washington on Wednesday.
Macron took advantage of the Aukus crisis to revitalize the EU’s defense plans, even if the French contract did not involve any other EU member state, noted Michel Duclos, special advisor to the Montaigne Institute. “The French have been very successful in putting the European flag on this issue,” he added.