Europe still needs its own independent and sovereign defence strategy, even if it is dealing with a new US government which may result in friendlier ties, French President Emmanuel Macron told the “Revue Grand Continent” publication.
In an interview with the publication, Macron rebuffed comments from German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to Politico on 2 November, in which the German minister said Europe would have to remain dependent on US military protection for the near future.
“I am in complete disagreement with the opinion article published in Politico by the German defence minister,” said Macron, adding he believed German Chancellor Angela Merkel shared his position on this issue.
“The United States will only respect us as allies if we are serious about our own position, and if we have our own sovereignty regarding our defence,” said Macron.
“We need to continue to build up our own autonomy, just as the United States does for itself, and just as China does for itself,” added Macron.
As examples of EU vulnerabilities, Macron pointed to recent developments in cloud computing services that could leave European data subject to US law and the tensions over the Iran nuclear accord, in which the Trump administration had leverage over the Europeans because of the dollar’s status as a global reserve currency. He also attacked German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer who argued earlier this month that it’s an “illusion” to think the EU can replace the US’s role in upholding security on the continent.
“That it is a historical misinterpretation,” he said. “Fortunately, if I understood things correctly, the chancellor does not share this point of view” — a reference to German leader Angela Merkel.
Macron is due to meet US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on 16 November though they aren’t due to make any public statements.
Macron spoke to US President-elect Joe Biden on 10 November, and told Biden he was ready to work with him on issues such as the climate, health, and the fight against terrorism.