Macron: EU shouldn't 'follow' US or China on Taiwan

The French president called for the EU to implement its stated policy of "strategic autonomy" and argued the bloc could become a "third pole" alongside China and the US

French president Emmanuel Macron
French president Emmanuel Macron


French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his calls for the EU to maintain an independent foreign policy in a Sunday interview for French business daily Les Echo.

"We don't want to get into a bloc versus bloc logic," he said, arguing that Europe "should not be caught up in a disordering of the world and crises that aren't ours."

The remarks follow a visit to China by Macron and other EU officialswhich included a meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping. Among other issues, the leaders discussed tensions around Taiwan and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Macron calls for EU 'strategic autonomy'

The French head of state stressed what he considered to be the need for the EU to develop "strategic autonomy," a term used to refer to the bloc maintaining an independent foreign policy line.

"Europe hadn't built this strategic autonomy for a long time," he said. But "now the ideological battle has been won."

"Five years ago, strategic autonomy was a pipe dream. Now everyone is talking about it," he said.

Macron said that the EU's member states should avoid becoming "vassals" and that the bloc could function as a "third pole" in geopolitics alongside the US and China. He warned against following American foreign policy as a "panic reflex."

France's president also called for increased military spending, saying: "History is speeding up, the European war economy needs to be sped up in parallel."

"Europe's defense industry does not meet all our needs and remains very fragmented," he said, arguing that this causes the EU to rely on American and Asian suppliers.

Macron said that it was important for Brussels to "understand" China's reasoning when it comes to Taiwan.

"As Europeans, our concern is our unity," he said. "The Chinese are also concerned with their unity, and Taiwan is a component [of this unity] from their point of view."

Macron stressed that it is not in the EU's interest for there to be any escalation of tensions around Taiwan. He warned that the bloc could become a follower of an "American rhythm" and a "Chinese overreaction" over the island.

Tensions over Taiwan have increased over the past several months. China is currently conducting a series of military drills around the island.

Macron meets Xi in Beijing

On Friday, Macron — together with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other officials — met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The EU leaders hope to convince Beijing to take on a bigger role in attempts to end the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Chinese state media had hailed Macron's visit as an opportunity to "inject new momentum and bring new vitality to China-Europe relations."

The Elysee Palace said that talks were "dense and frank." It also said that Macron was concerned about "growing tensions in the region" that could lead to a "terrible accident."

AFP material contributed to this report.

Edited by: Darko Janjevic

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