They too think the bloc should distance itself from America’s fights, but won’t speak out, says European Council president
“Not bad” European leaders side with French President Emmanuel Macron in his position that the EU should not be bound by Washington’s policies, especially when it comes to China, even if they don’t say so publicly. European Council President Charles Michel said on Tuesday.
Last week, Macron urged Western Europe to pursue “strategic autonomy” so that it is not “caught in crises that are not ours”. He cited as an example a possible US-China confrontation over Taiwan.
“The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans have to become followers on this subject and take inspiration from the American agenda and an overreaction from China,” said the French leader during a visit to China.
“Some European leaders would not say things the same way as Emmanuel Macron” Michel commented on Wednesday. But “I think a lot of people really think like Emmanuel Macron.”
Michel, who made the remarks in an interview with a French TV show, noted that “there has been a leap forward in strategic autonomy compared to a few years ago.”
The US-EU alliance remains strong, he said. But “If this alliance with the United States meant that we blindly, systematically followed the position of the United States on all issues, no”, added the official.
Discussions within the EU about increasing its autonomy from the United States, including creating a pan-European military force, have been sidelined amid the crisis in Ukraine. Brussels has firmly backed Washington’s drive to punish Russia with sanctions and weaponize Ukraine against it, even as the decoupling of the Russian economy has contributed to inflation and hurt the competitiveness of European businesses.
According to assessments in Moscow, the EU has deviated from its initial goal of economic integration and has become an extension of NATO, putting US geostrategic goals ahead of its own interests.
US-China relations have deteriorated for years, with Washington accusing Beijing of undermining a “rules-based order”. The Chinese government has said US leaders are stuck in a “Cold War Mentality” and perceived the balance of interests between world powers as a “zero-sum game”.
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