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Macron proposes EU collective defence plan

French President Emmanuel Macron suggested that Europe adopts a form of collective defence on Thursday as he strengthens calls for EU integration in the face of concerns over the United States' security commitments.

Macron proposes EU collective defence plan
Photo: AFP
Macron, who has called on the bloc to stop its reliance on Washington as a military backstop, said Europe should seek “strategic autonomy” in defence, during a press conference with his Finnish counterpart in Helsinki. 
   
In order to achieve this he proposed “cooperation reinforced almost automatically, which will mean that, for member states who agreed with the reform, we could have a real solidarity of intervention if one state was attacked”.
   
His comments come after US President Donald Trump repeatedly distanced himself from the NATO military alliance, which groups the United States with most of Europe and has underpinned European security since World War II based on the idea of mutual defence.
 
Macron said his suggested cooperation pact would resemble “a kind of reinforced article 5”, referring to the NATO defence clause that determines that an attack on one member state is an attack on all. 
 
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Photo: AFP

The French leader insisted that this was not a move to undermine the NATO agreement, which “remains an important and strategic alliance”.     
   
France, which has the EU's largest military force after Britain, has backed the idea of a small joint European response force over.
   
EU powerhouse Germany has also called for enhanced defence integration, with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas urging in a newspaper article last week for boosted military cooperation and for the bloc to “form a counterweight” to Washington as Europe-US relations cool.
   
Nine EU countries in June signed up to a French plan for a European defence intervention group, including Britain which backs the measure as a way to maintain strong security ties with the bloc after Brexit.
   
The idea is for the so-called European Intervention Initiative to be able to lead humanitarian crisis efforts and evacuation operations as well as take on conventional military duties.
   
The EU in May announced plans to spend nearly 20 billion euros on defence in its budget for 2021-2027, most of which will go on research and developing new military technologies for the bloc.

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EMMANUEL MACRON

Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

French president Emmanuel Macron will make a live TV broadcast to the nation about the war in Ukraine.

Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

Macron will be on TV on Wednesday at 8pm, the Elysée confirmed earlier on Wednesday.

Macron also tweeted the announcement, saying that his speech will be on the subject of the war in Ukraine.

His office added that the president’s speech “will not touch on other matters” – Macron has only until Friday to confirm whether or not he is running for re-election.

It is widely considered to be extremely unlikely that he would not stand in the April elections, but all candidates have until Friday, March 4th, to make their declaration.

Macron’s team had previously announced a rally in Marseille on Saturday, March 5th, which was expected to be the first official campaign event, but on Tuesday this was cancelled because of the ongoing international crisis.

Macron was at the forefront of international efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, and since Russia invaded Ukraine he has remained in close contact with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and has also spoken – at the request of Zelensky – to Russian premier Vladimir Putin.

 
The Local will be following Macron’s speech live from 8pm HERE.
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