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22 Dec, 2022 15:59

European NATO members should reduce reliance on US – Macron

The countries should bolster their own defense to become less dependent on both the bloc and Washington, the French president says
European NATO members should reduce reliance on US – Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has said European NATO members should become more autonomous and less dependent on the US-led alliance regarding their own security. He made the remarks late Wednesday, as he spoke to reporters in Paris after returning from a summit in Amman, Jordan.

“An alliance isn’t something I should depend on. It’s something that I should choose, something I work with,” Macron stated. “We must rethink our strategic autonomy.”

Macron identified “technology and defense capabilities” as areas in which European nations should seek to reduce their dependence on the alliance, and the US in particular. He added, however, that member states should not endeavor to break away from the bloc or develop an alternative to it.

“There is no European security architecture without strategic autonomy, inside NATO and with NATO, but not dependent on NATO,” he said.

Macron also touched upon the ongoing hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, in which the latter has received wide-ranging Western support. While reiterating his support for the “absolute defense of Ukraine,” he said once again that Moscow’s security concerns should be also addressed.

“When I speak of guarantees, I’m talking about all of these countries, for us, but also for Russia,” Macron stated. “This means that one of the essential points we must address – as President Putin has always said – is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia.”

In recent weeks, the French president has repeatedly said that the conflict must eventually end with negotiations, which should yield security guarantees for everyone, including Russia. This stance triggered a barrage of criticism from Ukraine and some EU nations, with Poland, Slovakia, and the Baltic states openly opposing Macron’s suggestion.

Russia has signaled on several occasions that it is ready to talk with Ukraine – and the West as a whole – while insisting that its own interests must be taken into account if negotiations are to occur. Moscow has blamed the lack of diplomatic efforts to end the conflict on Kiev. On Wednesday, the head of Russia’s Federation Council, Valentina Matvienko, said there is “no background for negotiations to take place in the near future: There is nothing [to discuss] and with no one.”

Senior officials in Kiev have repeatedly issued belligerent statements, with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky pledging to re-capture the former Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson, and Zaporozhye – which joined Russia in early October – as well as Crimea, which broke away from Kiev in 2014. Zelensky has even ‘banned’ himself from negotiating with Russian President Vladimir Putin.