‘We’ve NEVER been a threat to Europe’ China SLAPS DOWN Macron’s EU Army plot

Daily Express :: World Feed
‘We’ve NEVER been a threat to Europe’ China SLAPS DOWN Macron’s EU Army plot

The French leader’s call for the European Union to create a military force has angered many, especially US President Donald Trump, who has slammed the proposal as “very insulting”. When asked about the French proposal at a daily press briefing in Beijing, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “We have never posed a threat to Europe. It [Europe] has the right to decide its own foreign and defence policies.” 

She added European leaders had in fact expressed a desire for closer collaboration with China.

Discussing the growing dangers from cyber-hacking, meddling in electoral processes and the US decision to withdraw from a missile treaty, Mr Macron told Europe 1 radio last week Europe needed to “protect itself against China, Russia and even the United States”.

He said: “Faced by Russia, which is on our border and which has shown that it can be threatening … we need to have a Europe that can better defend itself by itself, without depending solely on the United States.”

But his proposal received mixed reactions. While Russia’s Vladimir Putin said it made sense for a powerful economic bloc like the EU to want to defend itself militarily, Mr Trump slammed the idea as “very insulting”.

The US President said on Twitter: “President Macron of France has just suggested that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia. Very insulting, but perhaps Europe should first pay its fair share of NATO, which the U.S. subsidizes greatly!” 

The Elysée Palace scrambled to quell the controversy, saying Mr Trump’s rebuke had been founded on a “misunderstanding” and that Mr Macron had been referring to computer hackers who could attack Europe from anywhere, including from inside the US.

But French efforts to appease Mr Trump were to little avail.

On Tuesday morning, the US leader attacked Mr Macron again. In a series of blistering tweets, he mocked France over its near defeat to Germany in two world wars, slammed French wine tariffs as “unfair” and taunted the young leader over his tepid approval ratings.

Mr Trump tweeted: “Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two - How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!” 

Brushing off Mr Trump’s Twitter rants, Mr Macron continues to insist his idea for an EU army shows European willingness to meet US demands that the bloc take its defence into its own hands.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has backed her ally’s plan, calling on Tuesday for an integrated EU military.

Mrs Merkel told the European Parliament that such an army would not undermine the US-led military alliance NATO, but would be complementary to it.

She said: “The times when we could rely on others are over. This means we Europeans have to take our fate fully into our own hands… We should work on a vision of one day establishing a real European army.”

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