The statement, made during Macron’s three-day state visit to China, has revealed internal EU divisions and caused anxiety in Washington.
During Macron’s three-day state visit to China, he issued a proclamation that has caused anxiety in Washington and revealed divisions inside the European Union regarding how to approach China.
France’s concept of strategic autonomy
Macron emphasised his favourite thesis of “strategic autonomy” for Europe to become a “third superpower,” likely under France’s leadership. In an interview with POLITICO and two French journalists during his return flight from China, he highlighted that the “great risk” Europe faces is becoming entangled in crises that do not directly concern it, hindering its ability to establish strategic autonomy.
Additionally, he expressed his worry about “rising tensions in the area,” which may result in “a terrible accident.” Hours after China began extensive military manoeuvres near Taiwan, which China claims as its territory, Macron made his remarks.
Beijing has threatened to invade several times in recent years and has adopted a strategy of isolating the democratic island by requiring other nations to recognise “one China.”
The “extraterritoriality of the US dollar,” as well as Europe’s reliance on American energy and military hardware, were singled out by Macron as factors reducing the continent’s autonomy, and he argued that more attention should be paid to developing Europe’s own defence industry.
Macron has always envisioned a level of strategic autonomy for Europe, and he views France as the counterbalance to the Cold War blocs. He has also said that if Europe wants to play a more prominent geo-strategic role, and wants to make itself immortal.
The French president emphasised the necessity for a European approach in regards to issues like sanctions, ties with China, and the Ukraine. Europe “should not be caught up in a disordering of the world and crises that are not ours,” according to Macron, who also cautioned against engaging in a logic of bloc against bloc.
Risks of getting dragged into a confrontation
Macron’s remarks emphasised the dangers of being embroiled in a dispute between China and the US over Taiwan.
He warned against Europe blindly following the US or China on Taiwan, saying it would be harmful. He stressed that Europe should not do anything to make the situation in Taiwan worse.
Compared to the US or perhaps the EU, Macron was more amenable towards Taiwan. French President Emmanuel Macron warned against “an acceleration of tensions breaking out between the duopoly” of the US and China on Friday as he discussed Taiwan with Xi Jinping.
The Europeans “won’t have the time or the resources to finance our strategic autonomy and will become vassals,” he said, if the conflict worsens too soon.
Macron’s remark revealed EU divisions on how to treat China, especially after its invasion of Ukraine.
Macron has aimed for Europe to become an independent geostrategic actor, but there is still heated discussion over how to deal with China and how to balance economic and security concerns.