French Foreign Minister Sides With French President Macron Who Demands European Independence From U.S.

  • by:
  • Source: Wayne Dupree
  • 04/11/2023
Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire stated on Tuesday that French President Emmanuel Macron was right to distinguish himself from Washington's aggressive approaches toward China. But up until now, Macron's claims of European "autonomy" have only been verbal.

While in China last week, Macron argued in an interview with Politico that Europe shouldn't "take our cue from the US agenda" and rather remain impartial regarding Taiwan. If Europe "gets caught up in crises that are not ours," he said, "Europe faces a great risk."

Le Maire said on Tuesday that Macron "is perfectly right to demand European independence and sovereignty as he has been doing since 2017." We are undoubtedly American allies, he continued. "We have a lot of similar economic interests, and we have the same ideals. However, just because we support the United States does not obligate us to oppose China.

Paris has a financial incentive to stay out of a conflict with Beijing. Seven significant French companies, including Airbus, the energy company EDF, and the shipbuilder CMA-CGM, inked or extended contracts with Chinese enterprises during Macron's visit. 

Le Maire declared, "We opt for the path of conversation. Isn't that better to a logic of conflict escalation and confrontation of any kind?

Macron has made a big deal out of reducing Europe's reliance on the US, notably in the area of defense, ever since he began his first term in office in 2017. The French president, however, stopped criticizing NATO once Russia's military incursion in Ukraine started last year. Since then, France has sided with the US in providing Kiev with weapons and ammunition while also supporting the EU's sanctions against Moscow, even if the resulting economic harm to France has fueled public unrest.

The efforts of Macron to present himself as a mediator between Russia and Ukraine have also failed. The French president's phone contacts with Vladimir Putin, his Russian counterpart, have been fruitless, and the Kremlin has previously rejected a purported French peace plan.

The Kremlin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Monday that Paris "can hardly aspire to be a mediator at this time, because Paris actually takes the side of one of the participants in the conflict," adding that France is "directly and indirectly" involved on the side of Ukraine.

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