Europe must resist pressure to become ‘America’s follower: Macron
Europe must reduce its dependency on the United States and avoid getting dragged into a confrontation between China and the U.S. over Taiwan, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview on his plane back from a three-day state visit to China.
Speaking with POLITICO and two French journalists after spending around six hours with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his trip, Macron emphasized his pet theory of “strategic autonomy” for Europe, presumably led by France, to become a “third superpower.”
He said “the great risk” Europe faces is that it “gets caught up in crises that are not ours, which prevents it from building its strategic autonomy,” while flying from Beijing to Guangzhou, in southern China, aboard the presidential plane.
His comments risk riling Washington and highlight divisions in the European Union over how to approach China, as the US steps up confrontation with its closest rival and Beijing draws closer to Russia in the wake of its war with Ukraine.
Macron also suggested Europe should reduce its dependence on the “extraterritoriality of the U.S. dollar,” a key policy objective of both Moscow and Beijing.
Citing his prized ideal of EU "strategic autonomy", the French leader said that "we must be clear where our views overlap with the US, but whether it's about Ukraine, relations to China or sanctions, we have a European strategy."
Taiwan island was just one area that risked "an acceleration of tensions breaking out between the duopoly" of China and the US, Macron said. If the confrontation escalates too quickly, Europeans "won't have the time or the resources to finance our strategic autonomy and will become vassals, whereas we can build a third pole if we have a few years," he added.
Europe's emergence as an independent geostrategic player has been a goal of Macron's for years, in line with a tradition going back to Fifth Republic founding president Charles de Gaulle who saw France as a balancing power between the Cold War blocs.