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25 Apr, 2024 13:41

‘Our Europe’ could die – Macron

The EU must prove that it is not a vassal of the United States, the French president has said in a keynote speech
‘Our Europe’ could die – Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron has urged EU nations to make decisive changes to secure the bloc’s interests ahead of crucial parliamentary elections across the bloc. The US cannot be relied on for protection, he warned.

Opinion polls are projecting that EU voters will shift towards right-wing nationalist politics in the European Parliament elections in early June.

Macron called for significant policy changes as he addressed his counterparts across the continent from the Sorbonne University in Paris on Thursday.  

”Our Europe today is mortal and it can die,” Macron warned. “It can die, and this depends only on our choices.”

The French leader touted ‘strategic autonomy’ for Europe, particularly in terms of military production. He reiterated that member states should spend more on defense and give priority to locally-produced weapons – a suggestion that critics perceive as lobbying for French arms manufacturers. Macron said that this would reduce the continent’s dependence on Washington.

The EU “must show that it is never a vassal of the United States and that it also knows how to talk to all the other regions of the world,” the president said.

He also advocated a wider revision of policies on fair trade, manufacturing standards and other areas that affect the competitiveness of European businesses.

”It cannot work if we are the only ones in the world to respect the rules of trade – as they were written up 15 years ago – if the Chinese and the Americans no longer respect them by subsidizing critical sectors,” Macron declared.

He labeled Russia’s “uninhibited” behavior as a key threat to Europe. Moscow has argued that the EU has shot itself in the foot by following the US and joining what it regards as a proxy war against Russia, in one instance being waged in Ukraine.

Macron’s presidency will expire in three years. His political party Renaissance lost its majority in the French parliament in 2022, while the right-wing National Rally party, which is projected to win the EU elections in France in June, has threatened to demand a dissolution of the national parliament, should the president’s centrist coalition suffer a crushing defeat in June.