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France: Europe should shoulder burden of its security

An EU invested in defense makes us more credible NATO allies, says France’s Macron.

It is time for Europe and key member states of the European Union to take up the burden of its own protection, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.

In his address at the Munich Security Conference, Macron said increasing defense expenditure to 2% of their GDP will “provide evidence to our US friends that we are reliable and responsible partners.”

“I think having a European Union much more invested in defense makes us much more credible as members of NATO,” he added.

Macron said the concept of Europe’s strategic autonomy does not mean it is moving away from the US and the transatlantic partnership but the opposite.

“When you look today at the situation, we need more Europe to deal with our neighborhood. We do have common challenges in Africa, Middle East. But we have an agenda, which could not be totally different, but I would say, perhaps not the same level of priority,” said Macron.

“And I think it is time for us to take much more of the burden of our own protection. Europe, the European Union, its key members have to be part of the solution of their own security,” he added.

The US can sometimes decide to be less involved when speaking about the security at European borders, said Macron.

“If we are too much dependent on the US within NATO, we can put ourselves into a situation to be no more protected at our borders.”

“I think we have to be a trustworthy partner. I do believe in NATO. I do believe NATO needs a new political momentum and clarification of its strategic concepts and NATO needs more political approach. And I do believe that the best possible involvement of Europe within NATO is to be much more in charge of its own security, and to be much more in charge of this strategic autonomy,” said Macron.

He claimed his ideas of Europe’s strategic autonomy will make NATO even stronger.

In 2019, Macron had raised eyebrows after calling NATO “brain dead” in an interview.

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