- Title: Europeans must stop being naive after submarine row, Macron says
- Date: 28th September 2021
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (SEPTEMBER 28, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, GIVING NEWS CONFERENCE WITH GREEK PRIME MINISTER, KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "The Europeans must stop being naive. When we are under pressure from powers, which at times harden (their stance), we need to react and show that we, too, have the power and the capacity to defend ourselves. We should not give in to escalation, it's simply about being respected." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "This (defence deal with Greece) isn't an alternative to the United States alliance. It's not a substitution, it's about taking responsibility of this European pillar within NATO, and drawing the conclusion that we are asked to take care of our own defence. I think that's legitimate." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "The Australian decision (to cancel submarine deal with France) does not change France's Indo-Pacific strategy. It (France's strategy) was announced in early 2018 in India, we have several partners in the region, and there, too, history and geography is unchangeable - France is an Indo-Pacific power regardless of any contract, since we have more than 1 million citizens living in the region and we have more than 8,000 soldiers deployed there, with several joint operations organised with several partners in the region." FRENCH, EU AND GREEK FLAGS (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRESIDENT, EMMANUEL MACRON, SAYING: "France's ambassador in Washington will return tomorrow with a clear mandate on the basis of our discussions to establish the conditions of reinstating commitment. And so on the basis of these exchanges, ones that will be enriched in the following weeks, we will rediscuss with President (Joe) Biden in mid-October to be able to establish the conditions of reinstating commitment, building on what he have expressed to each other during a phone call last week." NEWS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS
- Embargoed: 12th October 2021 10:15
- Keywords: Australia European Union France Greece Macron Mitsotakis NATO United States submarine deal
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- City: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Europe,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA001EWMWEO7
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: European countries must stop being naive, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday (September 28), as Greece sealed a deal for French frigates worth about 3 billion euros ($3.51 billion) and after Australia cancelled this month its order of a fleet of conventional submarines from France.
France was plunged into an unprecedented diplomatic crisis with the United States, Australia and Britain earlier this month over a trilateral nuclear security deal which sank a multi-billion dollar French-designed submarine contract with Canberra.
That has caused much soul searching in Paris over its traditional alliances. Speaking for the first time on the issue, Macron on Tuesday seized the opportunity to urge for more European autonomy as Washington increasingly re-orients its interests towards China and the Indo-Pacific.
"The Europeans must stop being naive. When we are under pressure from powers, which at times harden (their stance) , we need to react and show that we have the power and capacity to defend ourselves. Not escalating things, but protecting ourselves," Macron told a news conference with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Macron said France, though, remains a major Indo-Pacific power, with more than 8,000 soldiers deployed in the zone.
He said France's ambassador, who was recalled back to Paris amid the submarine deal dispute, will return to Washington on Wednesday (September 29).
Under Tuesday's agreement, Athens agreed to buy three frigates with an option to buy a fourth for about 3 billion euros, a Greek government source told Reuters.
This accord, part of a broader strategic military and defence cooperation pact, comes after Athens had already ordered some 24 Dassault-made Rafale fighter jets this year, making it the first European Union country to buy the fighter jet.
(Production: Clotaire Achi, Ardee Napolitano)
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