EU must ‘protect’ itself and STOP relying on US, warns France | World | News


Washington’s slow but steady retreat from international engagement is forcing European states to rethink their defence and security, which is heavily reliant on the US and Nato.

Mrs Parly said in a speech at a military school in Paris: “Doubt has started to creep in: will be always be able to count on America’s support? In all places and in all circumstances?

“We must be able to rely on ourselves, strive to be more reactive, and build a Europe that protects.”

She called on European governments to intensify the bloc’s military cooperation in an effort to reduce its reliance on the US.

In a direct rebuke to Mr Trump’s claim that the military alliance founded on collective defence against the Soviet threat is now “obsolete”, Mrs Parly said: “Nato remains and will always remain the pillar of transatlantic security.”

French Army General François Lecointre echoed her words, telling the students the bloc’s “clear objective” was to guarantee itself a “strategic autonomy” in response to America’s turn inwards.

This European defence project is “urgent,” Mr Lecointre added, before calling for a Europe which adheres to a common vision of its security.

In a bold speech to diplomats and lawmakers last month, French President Emmanuel Macron called for greater integration between EU armies following Mr Trump’s repeated threats to distance himself from Nato.

He reiterated his call for closer EU military cooperation, saying: “Europe can no longer rely on the United States for its security… It is up to us to guarantee our security.”

Mr Macron, a staunch europhile, added the bloc had to position itself as a military power in order to gain credibility on the world stage.

He said: “Do China and the United States think of Europe as a power with similar independence to their own? It is not the case.”

The 40-year-old centrist also called on Europe to build “strategic partnerships” with its neighbours and sometimes allies Turkey and Russia despite their differences.

He said: “It is in our interest for the EU to have a strategic relationship with Turkey as well as with Russia that brings stability, that will in the long term bring more strength and coherency.”

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