The Chronicle

EU can’t be serious: Macron’s sub snub rant


French President Emmanuel Macron has urged his European allies to stop being naive about the United States and to build up the continent’s own military defences.

Mr Macron’s remarks – as he sealed a French defence deal with Greece – were his first public response to the affront that France suffered two weeks ago when Australia and the US unveiled a secretly negotiated defence arrangemen­t, with British involvemen­t, that killed a $90bn French pact with Australia for Paris to supply Canberra with diesel-powered submarines.

In the aftermath, Mr Macron withdrew his ambassador­s from Australia and the US in protest.

“The Europeans must stop being naive. When we are under pressure from powers which at times harden (their stance), we need to react and show that we have the power and capacity to defend ourselves. Not escalating things, but protecting ourselves,” the cheesed-off Mr Macron said.

“This is not an alternativ­e to the United States alliance. It is not a substitute, but it is to take responsibi­lity for the European pillar within NATO and draw the conclusion­s that we are asked to take care of our own protection.”

France’s humiliatio­n over the AUKUS pact has spurred Mr Macron to push harder for France’s goal of “strategic autonomy” for the EU. But while he has received some support from Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and the German Social Democrats, who narrowly won Sunday’s election, other EU states show no desire to loosen the bond with the US and NATO and spend more on defence.

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