PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron of France mentioned in an interview Friday that for Europe to be a reputable companion to the USA it additionally needed to be “an autonomous companion” with its personal navy and technological capacities, as a result of “cooperation can’t be dependence.”
Talking to a dozen overseas correspondents, Mr. Macron mentioned he had a protracted phone dialogue final Sunday with President Joseph R. Biden Jr. through which he defined his pondering on the way forward for NATO.
“It’s not that we wish to undo the present alliances or partnerships,” he mentioned. However, he continued, “Cooperating is selecting to work collectively for shared values and aims. The day that cooperation turns into dependence, you may have change into any person’s vassal and also you disappear.”
The unreliability of the administration of former President Donald J. Trump, and his persistent criticism of NATO and the European Union, accelerated a European strategic reassessment. Mr. Macron has been the European Union’s most forthright voice, calling for investments in additional collectively developed European navy gear and deploring the bloc’s technological dependence, whether or not on China or, as he put it, “even on an ally like the USA.”
Of his dialog with Mr. Biden, the French president mentioned: “I instructed him we’re for European strategic autonomy as a result of Europe should bear its share of the burden.” The alternate was “very agreeable and nice,” Mr. Macron mentioned, ending with an settlement to work collectively.
Different European nations, together with Germany, have been cautious about utilizing the phrase “autonomy.” The French president is dealing with an election subsequent 12 months, and a posture asserting French and European sovereignty is more likely to play properly on the center-right of the political spectrum, an necessary potential constituency for him. It additionally displays deep private convictions that Mr. Macron has expressed since 2017.
Trying relaxed in his trademark black turtleneck shirt and blue go well with, his watch and a small clock on the desk in entrance of him, Mr. Macron spoke with exhaustive lucidity for multiple and a half hours on a spread of topics, together with threats to democracy, the pandemic, Brexit, and the connection between France and its massive, typically marginalized Muslim inhabitants.
By turns philosophical and pragmatic, at all times intense, the president interspersed his arguments with broad reflections, like: “, one can not grasp the course of historical past, however one can attempt to discover its thread.”
One such thread, Mr. Macron instructed, alluding to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, was the rise of violence that had change into a direct menace to democracies.
With out “the capability to respect particular person freedoms and create a framework for peaceable debate,” democratic societies confronted collapse, he mentioned. However some folks, in France as in America, had concluded that “there’s a lot financial, social or different violence that bodily violence on the street is justified. I imagine this can be a profound error that menaces democracy.”
Social media, he mentioned, had caused a form of “anthropological mutation” characterised by “fascination with hatred.” On the identical time, democracies are present process a “leveling that destroys the precept of authority,” with out which they can not perform successfully.
These developments raised the pressing query of regulation of massive personal social media corporations. “I’m not in favor of delegating to personal corporations, due to their prominence, the precise to determine about my life and our life in a democracy,” Mr. Macron mentioned.
Turning to the pandemic, which has led to the imposition of a 6 p.m. curfew in France, and tighter border restrictions introduced Friday, and to rising disgruntlement amongst a inhabitants uninterested in restrictions, lockdowns and deprivations, Mr. Macron mentioned: “It’s regular that there are the consequences of fatigue, of impatience, of moments of rigidity on the problem of vaccines.”
However he defended Europe’s Covid-19 technique, arguing that it was unrealistic to match the open European continent to island nations like New Zealand which have largely stamped out the virus, or to smaller nations like Israel the place vaccination charges have surpassed Europe’s.
“All of this solely works if we do it collectively,” Mr. Macron mentioned of the European Union’s strategy to vaccinations, including that it was a “rational technique” to have the European Fee purchase a spread of vaccines for your complete bloc. He mentioned the USA had “utterly failed” at dealing with the primary section of the pandemic however was doing properly now as a result of it had invested massively in vaccines to “fast-track” their growth.
“How do you do good science as rapidly as attainable? The Individuals confirmed that very properly,” Mr. Macron mentioned. “Significantly better than we did.”
Warming to the theme of entrepreneurial initiative — one basis of his try and reform France, even when tempered more and more by speak of the significance of the state — Mr. Macron attributed American successes to “a corporation mannequin that’s much less averse to threat.”
Of the Europeans, he instructed, “Perhaps we had been typically a bit too cautious, typically we had been very finicky,” though he confused it was necessary to strike the precise stability and never “abandon precautions.”
Steadiness has been an necessary theme of Mr. Macron’s presidency as he has sought to mix releasing up the economic system with the preservation of France’s social mannequin. This has led to options that he tries to reconcile the irreconcilable in a relentless on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand type of governing.
Confronted by he pandemic, he mentioned, it was inevitable that defending folks took precedence over free-market reform. He vowed by no means to waver in his “whatever-it-takes” strategy to Covid-19 — leaving the query of the money owed collected for a time after the virus has been defeated.
Brexit, he mentioned, was an “error” based mostly on “loads of lies,” a sovereign choice that he revered however that may complicate loads of points.
“I imagine in continental sovereignty, I imagine in nation states, and I don’t imagine in neo-nationalism,” Mr. Macron mentioned. “So, I favor a shared ambition and discovering once more a typical future, and I hope that Boris Johnson and people round him will share this path.”
On the tensions in France provoked by Islamist terrorism, together with three assaults within the second half of final 12 months, and his personal makes an attempt to extirpate its roots and obtain higher integration of the nation’s Muslim residents, Mr. Macron mentioned:
“I’ve by no means mentioned that I would like reasonable Muslims. That isn’t my downside. I don’t ask a Catholic to be reasonable. I don’t give a rattling. On the subject of somebody’s faith, that doesn’t concern me. Alternatively, I demand of each citizen, no matter their faith, to respect the foundations of the Republic, as a result of she or he is a citizen earlier than being a believer or a nonbeliever.”
Aurelien Breeden in Paris contributed reporting.