‘New rules of trust & security’: Macron wants EU ties with Moscow independent of NATO & US

Europe should think outside NATO dictates and restore relations with Russia, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed, calling for a “strategic debate” with Moscow over mutual areas of concern.

“Europe… must build new rules of trust and security with Russia, and should not only agree with NATO,” Macron said in an interview with the Swiss television channel RTS. “It needs to build [relations] only between Europe and Russia.”

While noting that disagreements between Moscow and Brussels do exist, in particular over Ukraine, Macron insisted that Russia’s role in world affairs cannot be underestimated. Europe, the French president stressed, needs Moscow to solve major security issues, as Russia’s highly successful anti-terrorist campaign in Syria has shown.

“We need to have a strategic debate, so this week I will have another, long and intense conversation with Vladimir Putin, as the president of France and the G7,” Macron stressed. “There is disagreement among us, but we work together.”

“It would not be good to leave Russia to China,” he added, reminding that Europe should “never forget the price [the Soviet Union] paid” in World War II to free the continent from Nazi Germany.

Since assuming the presidency of France, Macron has revived the ambitious plans of creating a combined EU military force – a real ‘European army’ – to provide security for the continent. Macron’s initiative didn’t exactly sit well with US President Donald Trump, who wants NATO member states to pay more for their American security umbrella.

Concerned over the security of Europe, Macron has also been critical over Trump’s decision to withdraw from the decades-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), which banned the ground-launched missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

Amid ongoing trade friction between Brussels and Washington, the French leader also called for EU to become more independent from its key ally on the other side of the Atlantic – a move which also provoked angry reactions from the US.

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