WORLD An ally is not a 'vassal': Macron defends European strategic autonomy


An ally is not a 'vassal': Macron defends European strategic autonomy


16:39, April 13, 2023

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday stressed the importance of European strategic autonomy, renewing his advocacy of the concept of European sovereignty and defying some nay-saying from U.S. politicians.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks to the media in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, April 12, 2023. /CFP

"Being an ally does not mean being a vassal... doesn't mean that we don't have the right to think for ourselves," Macron said at a press conference in Amsterdam, wrapping up a state visit to the Netherlands.

The latest remarks were consistent with what he said on Tuesday, when he urged Europe to "be able to choose our partners and shape our own destiny," instead of being "a mere witness of the dramatic evolution of this world" in a speech at the Nexus Institute in The Hague.

The French president's renewed calls for European strategic autonomy from the United States came in spite of what some call controversy caused by his recent remarks on the Taiwan question.

Last week, on his flight from Beijing to Guangzhou during a state visit to China, Macron told reporters that Europe had to reduce its dependency on the U.S. and avoid getting dragged into "crises that are not ours," referring to a possible crisis over the Taiwan question between Washington and Beijing, reported China Daily.

Macron's call welcomed and supported

A senior politician from Germany's governing Social Democratic Party (SPD) on Wednesday welcomed Macron's call for the European Union (EU) to become more independent from the United States.

Regarding the Taiwan question, Europe "must indeed try to formulate an independent role if possible and not appear as an appendage of the United States in the region," Rolf Muetzenich, parliamentary group leader of Chancellor Olaf Scholz's SPD, told public broadcaster ARD.

Europe's weight in Asia, however, is limited, according to Muetzenich. "We are second, maybe even third-tier important in this region," he said, stressing that a "differentiated view" is better than "always only talking about which side you attach yourself to."

Germany's Left Party also supported the French president's idea of greater strategic independence of Europe. It is a "worthwhile goal if it is combined with the objective of becoming the world's peace power," Left Party politician Dietmar Bartsch said.

European Council President Charles Michel on Tuesday suggested Macron's push for strategic autonomy from the U.S. was not an isolated one among EU leaders, according to China Daily.

"There has been a leap forward on strategic autonomy compared to several years ago," said Michel. "On the issue of the relationship with the United States, it's clear that there can be nuances and sensitivities around the table of the European Council. Some European leaders wouldn't say things the same way that Emmanuel Macron did. … I think quite a few really think like Emmanuel Macron."

(With input from agencies)

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