Macron says Europe must assert independence from US
French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that Europe must assert independence from the U.S. following France’s outrage over a submarine deal between the U.S. and Australia.
“For a bit over 10 years now, the United States has been very focused on itself and has strategic interests that are being reoriented towards China and the Pacific,” Macron said during a news conference regarding a defense deal between France and Greece, The Washington Post reported.
“It’s in their right to do so,” Macron said while contending that Europe “would be naive, or rather we would make a terrible mistake, to not want to draw the consequences.”
French officials have voiced outrage after the U.S. struck a deal with Australia to sell it nuclear-powered submarines, in the process scuttling a major deal between France and Australia.
Macron and President Biden had a phone call after the deal, with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian telling Secretary of State Antony Blinken that “time and actions” are needed to restore trust.
Macron said Europeans need to be “respected” and that focusing on Europe’s own defense would not be an “alternative to our alliance with the United States,” according to the Post.
He emphasized the U.S. is “a great historical ally and an ally in terms of values. And that’ll remain the case.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said he doesn’t regret taking the deal with the U.S. and canceling the one with France.