PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron of France stated in an interview Friday that for Europe to be a reputable companion to america it additionally needed to be “an autonomous companion” with its personal navy and technological capacities, as a result of “cooperation can’t be dependence.”
Chatting with a dozen international correspondents, Mr. Macron stated he had a protracted phone dialogue final Sunday with President Joseph R. Biden Jr. during which he defined his pondering on the way forward for NATO.
“It’s not that we need to undo the prevailing alliances or partnerships,” he stated. However, he continued, “Cooperating is selecting to work collectively for shared values and aims. The day that cooperation turns into dependence, you’ve gotten turn out to be any individual’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 tools and deploring the bloc’s technological dependence, whether or not on China or, as he put it, “even on an ally like america.”
Of his dialog with Mr. Biden, the French president stated: “I instructed him we’re for European strategic autonomy as a result of Europe should bear its share of the burden.” The trade was “very agreeable and nice,” Mr. Macron stated, 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 going through an election subsequent 12 months, and a posture asserting French and European sovereignty is prone to play nicely on the center-right of the political spectrum, an vital 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 swimsuit, 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 variety of topics, together with threats to democracy, the pandemic, Brexit, and the connection between France and its massive, generally marginalized Muslim inhabitants.
By turns philosophical and pragmatic, all the time 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 prompt, alluding to the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, was the rise of violence that had turn out to be 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 stated. However some individuals, 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 it is a profound error that menaces democracy.”
Social media, he stated, had led to a type 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 operate successfully.
These developments raised the pressing query of regulation of huge personal social media firms. “I’m not in favor of delegating to personal firms, due to their prominence, the suitable to determine about my life and our life in a democracy,” Mr. Macron stated.
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 stated: “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 check 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 stated of the European Union’s method to vaccinations, including that it was a “rational technique” to have the European Fee purchase a variety of vaccines for your entire bloc. He stated america had “fully failed” at dealing with the primary section of the pandemic however was doing nicely 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 potential? The People confirmed that very nicely,” Mr. Macron stated. “A lot better than we did.”
Warming to the theme of entrepreneurial initiative — one basis of his try to reform France, even when tempered more and more by discuss of the significance of the state — Mr. Macron attributed American successes to “a company mannequin that’s much less averse to danger.”
Of the Europeans, he prompt, “Possibly we have been generally a bit too cautious, generally we have been very finicky,” though he pressured it was vital to strike the suitable steadiness and never “abandon precautions.”
Steadiness has been an vital theme of Mr. Macron’s presidency as he has sought to mix liberating up the financial system with the preservation of France’s social mannequin. This has led to solutions that he tries to reconcile the irreconcilable in a relentless on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand fashion of governing.
Confronted by he pandemic, he stated, it was inevitable that defending individuals took precedence over free-market reform. He vowed by no means to waver in his “whatever-it-takes” method to Covid-19 — leaving the query of the money owed gathered for a time after the virus has been defeated.
Brexit, he stated, was an “error” primarily based on “quite a lot of lies,” a sovereign determination that he revered however that might complicate quite a lot of points.
“I imagine in continental sovereignty, I imagine in nation states, and I don’t imagine in neo-nationalism,” Mr. Macron stated. “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 stated:
“I’ve by no means stated 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. With regards to somebody’s faith, that doesn’t concern me. Then again, I demand of each citizen, no matter their faith, to respect the principles 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.