After travelling to Washington to convince US President Donald Trump to preserve the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal, and then watching Trump so casually disregarding not just America’s own international credibility but the interests of his European allies, who have invested so much actual and political capital into the Iran deal, French President Emmanuel Macron, following his reception of the Charlemagne prize, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have both condemned Trump’s maneuver while emphasizing the manner in which this demonstrates the need for Europe to confidently stand up for its own interests:
“If we accept that other major powers, including allies… put themselves in a situation to decide our diplomacy, security for us, and sometimes even make us run the worst risks, then we are not more sovereign and we cannot be more credible to public opinion,” Macron said, in a clear attack against Trump’s decision to quit the hard-fought Iran accord.
But Macron urged Europeans to stand up against diktats from abroad. “Don’t be weak,” said the 40-year-old president.
“We need to choose, build, speak with all so as to construct our own sovereignty that will be the guarantor of stability in (the Middle East).”
The Washington Post provides further context on both Macron and Merkels words with
AACHEN, Germany — French President Emmanuel Macron urged Europe on Thursday to unite and exert a self-confident “European sovereignty” in the face of an increasingly complex world and unilateral American moves on issues such as the Iran nuclear deal and climate change.
Macron spoke after receiving the International Charlemagne Prize, an annual award for contributions to European unity given by the German city of Aachen. German Chancellor Angela Merkel honored him in a speech praising Macron’s efforts to reform France and his ambitions to reform the European Union.
Addressing an audience that also included leaders from Lithuania, Bulgaria, Luxembourg and Ukraine, Macron urged Europe to defend the global multilateral order, for the sake of the continent’s sovereignty. He said that Europe must make its own choices, rather than go along with those made by others.
“We made the choice to build peace and stability in the Middle East,” he said in an allusion to the involvement of France, Germany and Britain in the Iran deal, from which President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. on Tuesday.
“Other powers, just as sovereign as us, have decided not to respect their own word,” Macron added. “Should we renounce our own choice? … We must choose, speak with everybody to succeed in building our own sovereignty which, in this region, will be a guarantee of stability.”
Merkel acknowledged that Europe “is still in its infancy” when it comes to having a common foreign policy, which will be “existentially necessary.”
“It is no longer the case that the United States of America will simply protect us — Europe must take its fate in its own hands,” she said.
France and Germany aim to agree on proposals for reforms of the EU by next month. Macron’s ideas for deeper integration of the 19-nation eurozone have met with some suspicion in Germany, where many are wary of large-scale financial transfers to weaker members.
Macron, in saying ‘don’t be weak’, Macron not only shows how France is committing to asserting its own sovereignty, but also calling on the nations present at the awards reception, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Ukraine, and Bulgaria, to also stand up for themselves and not allow other nations, even their allies, to dictate to them their foreign and defense policies.
Merkel, in this instance, apparently not only alluding to Trump’s handing her a bill for NATO’s defense, also declared the need for Europe to focus on developing its own defensive posture, as Trump’s actions can only be seen as a heightening of Europe’s defense concerns, given that he has threatened the dissolution of a critical agreement to ensure Europe’s security against a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, that could potentially endanger Europe.
European parties, here, have seen that not only is America not true to its word, but is also willing to sacrifice the interests of its allies in order to achieve its own, and therefore cannot be viewed as a reliable defense partner.
With the resumption of, and introduction of additional, sanctions against Iran and those doing business therewith, in addition to raw materials tariffs on other trade partners being enforced in Europe, America also demonstrates, in addition to Trump’s ‘America first’ slogan, that it is willing to seek after its own interests first, even if such a pursuit is detrimental to its own trade partnerships.
Europe, therefore, must look after its own interests, with or without the US, and, apparently, as Trump’s actions demonstrate, particularly without. The EU must stand up for its own sovereignty and security and economic welfare by standing together and coordinating a cooperative foreign and security polity. .