French President Emmanuel Macron has said Europe needs to “wake up” and up its game on defense and security following what he sees as a collapse of U.S.-EU strategic cooperation within NATO and other developments.
“What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” Macron said in an interview with The Economist published on Thursday.
The French president warned Europe that the Continent was standing “on the edge of a precipice” and had to ramp up its autonomy in defense and security matters.
“If we don’t wake up … there’s a considerable risk that in the long run we will disappear geopolitically, or at least that we will no longer be in control of our destiny. I believe that very deeply,” he said.
His comments come one month before NATO leaders are set to meet for a summit in London on December 3-4.
“Let’s face it. You have partners in the same geographical area and you don’t have any coordination on strategic decision-making from the United States with NATO partners,” he added, apparently referring to the U.S. pullout from Syria and Turkey’s recent invasion of the same country.
Asked whether he saw NATO’s Article 5, which enshrines the principle of mutual defense, as functioning, he said: “I don’t know.”
In the long interview — spanning defense and security issues, technological sovereignty and Huawei’s involvement in Europe’s 5G rollout — Macron also criticized U.S. President Trump’s vision of NATO.
Trump sees NATO “as a commercial project,” Macron said. “For him it’s a project where the U.S. provide a geopolitical umbrella but in exchange, they want commercial exclusivity, it’s a reason to buy American. France hasn’t signed for this.”
He added: “I’d argue that we should reassess the reality of what NATO is in the light of the commitment of the United States.”