French president Emmanuel Macron declares EU needs autonomy in face of US-China dominance

Europe needs its own independent and sovereign defence strategy,French President Emmanuel Macron has said.

Macron said the US would only respect Europe if it was sovereign with respect to its own defence, technology and currency. Warning that US values and interests were not quite the same as Europe’s.

In an interview with the journal Le Grand Continent,last Thursday, he called for a redoubling of the protection of the values of the European enlightenment against “barbarity and obscurantism”.

“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.

Macron suggested 2020 may prove to be a landmark year similar to 1945, 1968 and 2007. Much of the interview considered the extent to which the forces that led to Donald Trump’s election in 2016, and the UK’s Brexit vote, could be contained, and reversed.

“The changeover of the administration in America is an opportunity to to pursue in a truly peaceful and calm manner what allies need to understand among themselves – which is that we need to continue to build our independence for ourselves, as the US does for itself and as China does for itself.”

Macron, who previously criticised Nato as being “brain-dead”, said: “Europe has a lot of thoughts unthought. On a geostrategic level we had forgotten to think because we thought our geopolitical relations through Nato.”

Calling for a reinvention of international cooperation, he said the current multilateral frameworks were blocked.

President Macron said that the UN security council no longer produces useful solutions today. Adding that they all had a responsibility to bear when some establishments such as the World Health Organization 'find themselves hostages to the crises of multilateralism'.

Now is the right time to "strengthen and structure a political Europe" which could be at the heart of a "new multi-lateralism", Macron said.

A strong Europe, he added, "is the only way to impose our values" to avoid a Chinese-US duopoly and "the return of hostile regional powers".

In a speech before the UN General Assembly in September, Macron had already called on the international community to avoid being reduced to the status of "depressed observer" of a China-US rivalry.