European leaders must not let up on efforts to construct an autonomous bloc that is capable of resisting the duopoly of China and the US, Emmanuel Macron has said in his first extended response to the US presidential election.
The French president said the US would only respect Europe if it was sovereign with respect to its own defence, technology and currency. Warning that US values and interests were not quite the same as Europe’s, he said: “It is not tenable that our international policies should be dependent on it or to be trailing behind it.” The same need for independence applied even more to China, he added.
His analysis came in a marathon interview in the journal Le Grand Continent, conducted last Thursday, in which he called for a redoubling of the protection of the values of the European enlightenment against “barbarity and obscurantism”. Le Grand Continent is the review attached to the leading French thinktank Groupe d’Études Géopolitiques.
Macron suggested 2020 may prove to be a landmark year similar to 1945, 1968 and 2007. Much of the interview considered the extent to which the forces that led to Donald Trump’s election in 2016, and the UK’s Brexit vote, could be contained, and reversed.
“The changeover of the administration in America is an opportunity to to pursue in a truly peaceful and calm manner what allies need to understand among themselves – which is that we need to continue to build our independence for ourselves, as the US does for itself and as China does for itself.”