Europe has found itself in the throes of an “unprecedented crisis” over the Ukraine conflict, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday. He added that the continent has to choose whether it wants to be free or become totally dependent on either the US or China.
In an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais, the French leader noted that Europe’s economic model was being “profoundly affected by the direct and indirect consequences of this war.”
In terms of economics, the world is defined by the “polarity” between the US and China, and Europe has yet to decide whether it wants “to become the vassal of one of the two” or pursue the path of freedom and solidarity, Macron said.
While Europe has so far been unable to fully reply to this question, the answer is “an economically, technologically and militarily sovereign Europe. In other words, a truly powerful Europe,” the French president stressed.
Macron believes that the crisis Europe is now experiencing also hinges on the fact that the continent has not fully “digested” the period after the end of the Cold War. The EU rushed to rapidly expand to the east in the belief that “the problems had been solved” once the Cold War ended, the French president said. Now, the EU has two groups of nations that have different views on the bloc’s future, he said, adding that eastern Europe seeks more national autonomy within the EU, and “we have to know how to listen to them.”
This crunch, however, is plaguing not only Europe but all Western democracies, which are “experiencing a kind of fatigue, a loss of collective references,” Macron believes. The global capitalist system itself is in a crisis since it no longer lifts people out of poverty but only causes “inequalities to skyrocket,” causing a “crisis of conscience for democracies,” he added.
The French president has long championed the creation of a tighter European political community that would share democratic values and closely cooperate in energy, transport and security. Macron has also insisted that Europe should be less dependent on NATO and pursue “strategic autonomy” from the US-led military bloc.
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