French President Emmanuel Macron, amid a tour of battlefields in the country leading up to Remembrance Sunday, has advised media that a ‘true European army’ is needed if the continent is to defend itself against a variety of global threats. Among such potential threats the President recounted – according to The Independent – are Russia, China and the US – with Macron stating that the need for Europeans to protect themselves in the current world and political climate has never been more important.
“When I see President Trump announcing that he’s quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s Euro-missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim?” Macron asked, before answering “Europe and its security.”
“We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army. (…) We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the United States, in a more sovereign manner.”
Mr Macron’s comments arise as he continues to seek a greater unification of defense strategy within the European Union. Thus far, however, since his rise to power in France in 2016, little appears to have been accomplished on such fronts, according to reports.
Macron will welcome world leaders such as President Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin as part of remembrance ceremonies taking place in Paris on November 11th, which will also mark 100 years since the treaty between Allies and Germany was signed to end the First World War. People all over the world are expected to honor those who gave their lives in battle – as well as those who survived the conflicts – in vigils and commemorations this Sunday.
The way that the EU defends itself, however, is still open for debate – though France remains the most vocal candidate in favor of a more comprehensive defense mandate. Germany has, previously, offered some support for proposals suggested by Macron, but there have been no solid motions made with regard to unity on this front at this time. The European Commission itself has commented by stating that unifying the EU’s defense strategy should not be all about creating an ‘EU army’.
Macron, who has suffered in approval polls in recent times, has also been in the news earlier this week as a plot to attack the President appeared to have been thwarted – with the arrest of six people across France.