France’s Macron presses for creation of European defense force

‘Europeans should be able to cover their responsibility to be independent and capable of supporting themselves,’ says French president in joint news conference with NATO chief

Esra Tekin, Necva Tastan  | 25.06.2024 - Update : 25.06.2024
France’s Macron presses for creation of European defense force


French President Emmanuel Macron urged European countries on Monday to create a continental defense force as part of NATO.

“Europeans should be able to cover their responsibility to be independent and capable of supporting themselves,” he said during a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Paris.

“That is the idea of a European force which would actually be more independent and capable of defending itself and defending the Alliance and the EU obviously,” he added.

Macron also said it would strengthen the cooperation between NATO and other countries of the EU.

He noted that NATO allies are at a “strategic turning point” where “war is coming back to Europe after the war of aggression that was launched by Russia.”

He said that the Alliance plays a crucial role by using collective deterrence, bringing together all its allies.

France is committed to ensuring that it can address Ukraine’s urgent needs, Macron said.

He said France remains steadfast and resolute in its stance and will persist in this support.

“We have to send a strong message in Washington on the way in which we are integrating Ukraine into the North Atlantic Alliance’s activities,” he added.

He noted that another issue will be discussed – sharing the burden of security – during the NATO Summit which will be held in Washington, D.C. on July 9-11.

Stoltenberg underscored France's leadership within NATO, noting its pivotal role in various defense operations.

"Since NATO's founding, France has made vital contributions to our shared security and our collective defense," he said.

Looking ahead to the Washington summit, he identified support for Ukraine as the most urgent task.

“More support in Ukraine will be our most urgent task. Since Russia's full-scale invasion, allies have provided unprecedented support, but recent gaps and delays have led to real consequences on the battlefield,” he said.

"We must give Ukraine the predictability and accountability it needs to defend itself," he added.

Stoltenberg also said he expects NATO allies to agree at the summit on leading the coordination and provision of security assistance and training for Ukraine.

"Our support is not about making NATO a party to the conflict. It is about ensuring that Ukraine can uphold its right of self-defense, a fundamental right which is enshrined in the UN Charter," he added.

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