French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments about Europe’s priorities on Taiwan have raised questions about the EU’s relationship with both the United States and China, on the eve of his planned speech on the bloc’s sovereignty in the Netherlands.
Macron’s remarks were published on Sunday in an interview with French newspapers Les Echos and Politico Europe.
The question we need to answer, as Europeans, is the following: Is it in our interest to precipitate (a crisis) in Taiwan? No,” Macron was quoted as saying in the interview. “The worst thing is to think that we Europeans should become followers on this issue and take our cues from the American agenda and the Chinese overreaction.”
The remarks came on Friday, just before China began large-scale combat exercises around Taiwan which simulates the island’s closure in response to the Taiwanese president’s trip to the US last week.
Macron spoke to reporters on his way back from a three-day state visit to Chinawhere he spoke at length with President Xi Jinping, including on Taiwan, according to Macron’s office.
The remarks attracted wide attention on social media, and experts have raised questions about whether Macron’s views are in line with the EU’s position and whether the 27-nation bloc can become the “third great power” that Macron says he hopes to build within “years”. Few.”
Asked about Macron’s comments on Monday, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby insisted that the United States and France have “terrific bilateral cooperation” and are coordinating closely on security issues in Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific region, the Sahel and elsewhere.
“We’re focused on … making sure that together we meet the national security requirements of both countries,” Kirby said.
On Tuesday, Macron begins a two-day state visit to the Netherlands, where he is scheduled to deliver a speech on European sovereignty, with a focus on the economy and industry, according to his office.
“We Europeans, we must wake up. Our priority is not the agendas of others in all regions of the world,” Macron said in the interview.
He stressed the concept of “strategic autonomy” for Europe that he had promoted for years. He warned of what he called a “trap” that might lead the bloc to fall into crises that are not ours.
“We don’t want to depend on others for important issues,” he insisted.
Politico said Macron’s office requested that the president’s quotes be verified before they were published, a common practice in France, which led to the scrapping of some parts of the interview in which he spoke more bluntly about Taiwan and Europe’s strategic autonomy.
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