Macron Continues Push for 'European Sovereignty'

But he's facing a lot of criticism on both sides of the Atlantic
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2023 3:00 PM CDT
Macron's Vision for Europe Takes Flak
French President Emmanuel Macron explains his vision on the future of Europe during a lecture in a theatre in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, April 11, 2023.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

After French President Emmanuel Macron warned that Europe shouldn't let the US drag it into conflict with China over Taiwan, Sen. Marco Rubio wondered whether Macron was speaking only for France or for all of Europe. Based on the reaction being rounded up in various outlets—at least from a group Politico calls "China hawks"—it seems that Macron was speaking only for France. “It should be emphasized that the president’s words are severely out of step with the feeling across Europe’s legislatures and beyond,” says a statement signed by 15 members of parliament from national legislatures in the European Union.

The Guardian quotes an unnamed member of the European Parliament who sounds a similar theme: "Macron says, 'Europe should' and 'we Europeans,' but he speaks for France, he can’t really speak for Europe." In interviews—and in a speech at the Hague on Tuesday, per France24—Macron has pushed what he calls "strategic autonomy" for the continent or "European sovereignty." And he has specifically warned his fellow Europeans not to become "America's followers." In his Tuesday speech, he said that Europe can "choose our partners and shape our own destiny" instead of being being "a mere witness [to] the dramatic evolution of this world."

The AP notes that protesters angry about Macron's pension reform plans back home interrupted the speech and denounced him as the "president of violence and hypocrisy." He called the interruption an example of how democracy works before returning to his theme of a more independent Europe. But Macron's "idea of sovereignty, which he defines in demarcation rather than partnership with the USA, he is increasingly isolating himself in Europe," tweeted Norbert Rottgen, a German MP.

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Rubio wasn't the only critical voice in the US, either. GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher, chair of the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, called Macron's remarks "embarrassing" and "disgraceful," and the conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal mocked Macron for thinking of himself as a "Charles de Gaulle for the 21st century" with his wish to distance Europe from the US. Macron wants America "to ride to Europe’s rescue against Russian aggression but apparently take a vow of neutrality against Chinese aggression in the Pacific," writes the editors. "Thanks a lot, mate. His unhelpful comments will undermine U.S. and Japanese deterrence against China in the Western Pacific while encouraging U.S. politicians who want to reduce U.S. commitments in Europe to better resist China." (More Emmanuel Macron stories.)

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