France’s President Emmanuel Macron warns that the West is “weakening” after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo downplayed European anxiety about a decline of transatlantic unity.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Macron said, “There is a weakening of the West.”
“There’s an American policy that started several years ago and not just under this administration that includes a certain kind of withdrawal, of a rethink of its relationship with Europe.”
Macron’s remarks came in response to Pompeo’s statements in the same conference during which he said the death of the transatlantic bond had been “grossly overexaggerated,” rejecting European pessimism about the US’ retreat from the global stage.
“The West is winning and we’re winning together,” Pompeo said.
In November, Macron said he believes North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is experiencing “brain death,” citing a lack of coordination between Europe and the US. He warned Europeans that they could no longer rely on America to defend NATO allies.
Macron also hit at German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s inaction on his proposed reforms to strengthen the European Union after the UK’s departure from the bloc.
“I’m not frustrated, I’m impatient,” he said when he was asked he was frustrated by Merkel’s stance, adding, “We have a history of waiting for answers” from each other.
“What’s key in the coming years is to move much faster on issues of sovereignty on the European level.”
‘Continent doesn’t believe in its future’
Macron also urged the European Union to wake up and beef up its budget to match with the scale of its ambitions so that it does not fall behind the US and China, particularly in future technologies.
“We are becoming a continent that doesn’t believe in its future,” Macron said, adding, “We don’t invest in our future sufficiently … and politically it is the only way to reconcile with (our) middle classes.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Macron reiterated his call for closer dialogue with Russia in order to resolve conflicts, noting that he saw none of his allies willing to confront Russia.
“I hear the defiance of all our partners, I’m not mad, but I know that being defiant and weak … it is not a policy, it’s a completely inefficient system,” Macron said.
“There is a second choice which is to be demanding and restart a strategic dialogue because today we talk less and less, conflicts multiply and we aren’t able to resolve them,” he added.
Relations between Moscow and the rest of Europe have deteriorated since 2014, when the then-Ukrainian territory of Crimea voted in a referendum to fall under Russian sovereignty. The EU has leveled several rounds of sanctions against