French President Emmanuel Macron has said Europeans must step up their defense plans and gain “respect” as France opens talks with the United States to try to restore confidence after an underwater dispute has leads to a major diplomatic crisis
“When you are under pressure, (…) to show that you also have power and the ability to defend yourself (…) is simply to be respected.”
As part of the pact, Australia will cancel a multibillion-dollar contract to purchase French diesel-electric submarines and instead acquire nuclear-powered US ships. In an unprecedented move, France recalled its ambassador to the United States in response.
Macron has said he will speak with Biden again in mid-October, ahead of an in-person meeting scheduled for late next month in Europe.
The United States is “great friends and historic allies in terms of values, but we have to see that for over 10 years Americans have focused on themselves first and have strategic interests shifted towards China and the United States. Pacific, ”Macron said.
“We must, as Europeans, participate in our own protection,” he added. “It is not an alternative to the alliance with the United States nor a substitute for it,” he stressed, adding that European defense plans should complement NATO.
The European Union unveiled earlier this month a new strategy to strengthen economic, political and defense ties in the Indo-Pacific area.