Monday 12 November 2018

Macron calls for 'real European army over Russia and US threat'

Salute: Emmanuel Macron attends a ceremony near Verdun, France, yesterday. Photo: Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS
Salute: Emmanuel Macron attends a ceremony near Verdun, France, yesterday. Photo: Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

Henry Samuel

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a "real European army" to defend the continent against Russia, China and even the US.

Mr Macron, who has pushed for a joint EU military force since his election last year, issued the call in northern France in the run-up to the centenary of the end of World War I.

"We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army," Mr Macron said in the interview at Verdun, the scene of France's most bloody battle.

His call came as he was due to welcome Donald Trump, the US president, and other world leaders, including Russia's Vladimir Putin, to France to commemorate the Armistice centenary this weekend.

Mr Macron said the continent could no longer rely on protection from America, citing the recent decision of Mr Trump to withdraw from a Cold War-era nuclear treaty, and he even suggested its old ally posed a potential threat.

"We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America," Mr Macron told broadcaster Europe 1.

"When I see President Trump announcing that he's quitting a major disarmament treaty which was formed after the 1980s euro-missile crisis that hit Europe, who is the main victim? Europe and its security," he said.

Faced with "a Russia which is at our borders and has shown that it can be a threat", Mr Macron added: "We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the US."

Meanwhile, six people have been arrested as part of an investigation into a plan to attack Mr Macron. BFM TV reported that French security services arrested the six members of the far-right on suspicion of undertaking a "loosely formed" plan for "violent action" against the president. (© Daily Telegraph London)

Telegraph.co.uk

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