'Europe needs to stop being naive,' says Emmanuel Macron after France signs warship pact
Earlier this month, France was thrown into an unprecedented diplomatic crisis with the United States, Australia, and Britain over a trilateral nuclear security agreement that sunk a multibillion-dollar French-designed submarine contract with Canberra.
Europe must stop being naive when it comes to defending its interests and instead invest in its military capabilities, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday, following the signing of a deal for three French frigates worth around three billion euros ($3.51 billion). Earlier this month, France was thrown into an unprecedented diplomatic crisis with the United States, Australia, and Britain over a trilateral nuclear security agreement that sunk a multibillion-dollar French-designed submarine contract with Canberra. This has generated a lot of soul searching in Paris over its old ties. For the first time on the subject, Macron used his speech on Tuesday to call for more European autonomy as Washington reorients its priorities toward China and the Indo-Pacific.
"Europeans must stop being gullible. When we are put under pressure by authorities that sometimes harden (their position), we must react and demonstrate that we have the strength and capacity to protect ourselves. Not aggravating the situation, but rather defending ourselves," Macron stated this during a press conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. He also stated that it is not an alternative to the US alliance. He went on to say that it is not a replacement, but rather the assumption of responsibility for NATO's European pillar.
According to a Greek government source, the agreement reached on Tuesday calls for Athens to purchase three frigates with an option to buy a fourth for around 3 billion euros. The agreement, which is part of a larger strategic military and defence cooperation treaty, came after Athens purchased 24 Dassault-made Rafale fighter planes this year, making it the first European Union government to do so. When questioned if the agreement risked inflaming tensions in the eastern Mediterranean, Macron stated that the agreement did not explicitly target any country, but rather Greece, because the European Union's outside border needed to be safeguarded.