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Macron calls for ‘real European army’ to defend against Russia and US

French President Emmanuel Macron called Tuesday for a "real European army" as the continent marks a century since the divisions of World War I, to better defend itself against Russia and even the United States.

Macron calls for 'real European army' to defend against Russia and US
French President Emmanuel Macron reviews a troop of French army soldiers during a ceremony. Photo: AFP
Macron, who has pushed for a joint EU military force since his arrival in power last year, said Europe needed to reduce its dependence on American might, not least after US President Donald Trump announced he was pulling out of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty.
   
“We have to protect ourselves with respect to China, Russia and even the United States of America,” Macron told Europe 1 radio.
 
“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. 
   
“We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army,” he said in the interview, recorded Monday night in Verdun, northeast France, as Macron tours the former Western Front during week-long World War I centenary commemorations.
 
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Macron proposes EU collective defence plan Photo: AFP

Faced with “a Russia which is at our borders and has shown that it can be a threat”, Macron argued: “We need a Europe which defends itself better alone, without just depending on the United States, in a more sovereign manner.”

The EU launched a joint multi-billion-euro defence fund last year designed to develop Europe's military capacities and make the continent more strategically independent.
   
France has also spearheaded the creation of a nine-country force designed to be capable of rapidly mounting a joint military operation, an evacuation from a warzone, or providing aid in a natural disaster.
 
“Peace in Europe is precarious,” Macron told Europe 1.
   
“We have been hit by intrusion attempts in cyber-space and multiple interventions in our democracies,” he said in an apparent reference to Russia.
   
He also warned of “authoritarian powers which are reemerging and rearming within the confines in Europe”.
   
Macron has been warning of rising nationalism as he prepares to host dozens of world leaders, including Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, on Sunday to mark 100 years since the World War I armistice.
   
He repeated his warning Tuesday that he was struck by similarities between the world today and the financial crisis and “nationalism playing on people's fears” of the 1930s.
 
“The peace and prosperity which Europe has enjoyed for 70 years are a golden moment in our history,” he said, warning that this was the exception rather than the rule.
   
“For millennia, it has never lasted so long.”  

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SEX

France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had ‘marital duty’ to have sex with husband

A case has been brought against France at the European Court of Human Rights by a woman who lost a divorce case after judges ruled against her because she refused to have sex with her husband.

France taken to European Court over divorce ruling that woman had 'marital duty' to have sex with husband
Photo: Frederick Florin/AFP

The woman, who has not been named, has brought the case with the backing of two French feminist groups, arguing that the French court ruling contravened human rights legislation by “interference in private life” and “violation of physical integrity”.

It comes after a ruling in the Appeals Court in Versailles which pronounced a fault divorce in 2019 because of her refusal to have sex with her husband.

READ ALSO The divorce laws in France that foreigners need to be aware of

The court ruled that the facts of the case “established by the admission of the wife, constitute a serious and renewed violation of the duties and obligations of marriage making intolerable the maintenance of a shared life”.

Feminist groups Fondation des femmes (Women’s Foundation) and Collectif féministe contre le viol (Feminist Collective against Rape) have backed her appeal, deploring the fact that French justice “continues to impose the marital duty” and “thus denying the right of women to consent or not to sexual relations”.

“Marriage is not and should not be a sexual servitude,” the joint statement says, pointing out that in 47 percent of the 94,000 recorded rapes and attempted rapes per year, the aggressor is the spouse or ex-spouse of the victim.

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