The French President emphasized the need for the EU to adopt a policy of "strategic autonomy" and proposed that the bloc could serve as a "third pole" alongside China and the US.
In an interview with French business daily Les Echo on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his call for the EU to maintain an independent foreign policy. He stated that Europe should not be drawn into a "bloc against bloc" mentality and should not be involved in global crises that are not directly related to the bloc.
Macron's comments come after his visit to China, along with other EU officials, during which they met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. The leaders discussed various issues, including the tensions surrounding Taiwan and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Macron emphasized that escalating the situation in Taiwan would not be in the EU's best interest.
He posed the question: "Is it in our interest as Europeans for there to be acceleration on the topic of Taiwan? No. The worst thing we Europeans could do would be to be followers on this topic and to adapt to the American rhythm and a Chinese overreaction. Why should we go at a rhythm chosen by someone else?"
Macron advocates for EU 'strategic autonomy'
The French leader underscored the importance of the EU developing "strategic autonomy," a term referring to the bloc maintaining an independent foreign policy approach.
Macron noted that Europe had not pursued strategic autonomy for a long time, but now the ideological battle has been won. He stated that the concept of strategic autonomy was considered far-fetched five years ago, but now everyone is discussing it.
Macron suggested that EU member states should avoid becoming "vassals" and that the bloc could act as a "third pole" in geopolitics, alongside the US and China. He warned against following American foreign policy as a knee-jerk reaction.
The French president also called for increased defense spending, stating, "History is accelerating, and the European war economy needs to keep pace."
Macron pointed out that Europe's defense industry does not meet all of the bloc's needs and remains highly fragmented. He argued that this situation leads to reliance on American and Asian suppliers.
Macron emphasized the importance of Brussels understanding China's perspective on 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."
Tensions surrounding Taiwan have risen in recent months, with China currently conducting a series of military exercises around the island.
Macron meets with Xi in Beijing
On Friday, Macron, accompanied by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and other officials, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
EU leaders hope to persuade Beijing to play a larger role in efforts to end the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Chinese state media praised Macron's visit as an opportunity to "inject new momentum and bring new vitality to China-Europe relations."
The Elysee Palace described the talks as "dense and frank" and noted Macron's concern about the "growing tensions in the region" that could result in a "terrible accident."