Macron warns Europe could cease to exist

French President Emmanuel Macron has said the EU must prove it is not under the control of the United States, in a keynote speech.

In a speech at Sorbonne University in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron urged EU nations to make bold changes to protect the economic bloc’s interests during turbulent times, and warned Europe cannot rely on the US for protection. Voters in EU countries will vote in early June for new members of the European Parliament, with opinion polls projecting a shift in favor of right-wing nationalist political forces. On Thursday, Macron addressed counterparts across Europe, urging significant policy changes.

According to media reports, Thursday’s speech was intended to channel the energy from September 2017, when Macron made a similar appeal at the same location shortly after winning his first term as French president. In the seven years since, the EU has faced a series of crises, including Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict.
”Our Europe today is mortal and it can die,” Macron warned. “It depends only on our choices.”

Macron promoted his idea of ‘strategic autonomy’ for Europe, particularly in terms of military production. He reiterated that member states should increase defense spending and prioritize locally-produced weapons – a suggestion critics see as lobbying for French arms manufacturers. Macron said this would reduce Europe’s reliance on Washington.

The EU “must show it is never under the control of the United States and that it also knows how to talk to all other regions of the world,” the president said.
He also advocated wider revision of policies on fair trade, manufacturing standards and other areas affecting the competitiveness of European businesses.
”It cannot work if we are the only ones in the world to respect trade rules – as written up 15 years ago – if the Chinese and Americans no longer respect them by subsidizing critical sectors,” Macron declared.
He labeled Russia’s “uninhibited” behavior as a key threat to Europe. Moscow has argued the EU has harmed itself by following the US and joining what it sees as a proxy war against Russia being waged in Ukraine.

Macron’s presidency will expire in three years. His political party Renaissance lost its majority in the French parliament in 2022, while the right-wing National Rally party, projected to win the EU elections in France in June, has threatened to demand dissolution of the national parliament should the president’s centrist coalition suffer a crushing defeat in June.