“We must reinvent useful forms of cooperation – coalitions of projects and actors – and we must modernize our structures and create a level playing field for all,” Macron said. “To do this, we also need to reconsider the terms of the relationship: I think the second way forward is a strong and political Europe. ”
His remarks follow a pre-electoral American politico-editorial written by German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, calling for enhanced cooperation between Europe and the United States: “Illusions of European strategic autonomy must stop: Europeans cannot replace America’s crucial role as a security provider, ”Kramp-Karrenbauer wrote.
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Macron called Kramp-Karrenbauer’s comments a “historic misrepresentation” and said he “deeply disagreed” with the idea that European strategic autonomy was an illusion.
“Fortunately, if I understood things correctly, the Chancellor does not share this point of view,” Macron wrote. “But the United States will only respect us as allies if we are serious and if we are sovereign in our defense. “
‘We are not the USA’
The push to encourage European countries to spend more on defense and do more in NATO has been a theme of Donald Trump’s presidency, but it also dates back to previous US administrations, which encouraged similar measures, though. than with a softer tone. But Europeans often argue over how to achieve this and what degree of autonomy is desirable.
Offering additional support for his efforts for greater European sovereignty, Macron said American and French values ”are not quite the same.”
“I am sure of one thing: we are not the United States of America,” he said. “We have, for example, a preference for equality which is not found in the United States of America… We have an attachment to social democracy, to more equality, our reactions are not the same. I also believe that culture is more important here, much more. ”
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Regarding the recent US elections, however, Macron called Joe Biden’s run as president of opportunity work on mutual understanding that “we Europeans continue to build our own autonomy, just like the United States. and China are doing it for themselves ”.
This is not the first time that Macron has called for greater European independence. Macron sparked controversy last year when he called NATO’s defense pact “brain dead” in the middle of Trump’s tenure.
Meeting with Pompeo
Macron’s comments precede his meeting with Pompeo, who has firmly defended US President Donald Trump and claimed a “smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” Pompeo arrived in Paris on Saturday at the start of a seven-country trip to U.S. allies. Pompeo is also expected to meet separately with his French counterpart, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
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While Trump and his supporters still claim the election was “stolen” and alleged widespread electoral fraud, most world leaders, including Macron, have recognized Biden as the winner. Macron was one of the first to congratulate Biden publicly and by phone.
French presidential assistants said it was Pompeo who requested the meeting with Macron and that it had been granted “in full transparency with President-elect Joe Biden’s team”.
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No press conference is scheduled after Pompeo’s meeting with Macron. Leaders are expected to discuss Trump’s plans to speed up the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan in the face of a growing number of jihadist attacks, as well as the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.
Ahead of the scheduled meetings, Pompeo laid a bouquet of red, white and blue flowers on a memorial to the victims of terrorism in a Parisian monument, the Hôtel des Invalides.
After Paris, Pompeo will travel to Istanbul, as well as Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Georgia.
lc / msh (AFP, dpa)