Europe sovereignty: ‘Pandemic, war made us discover we have to reduce our dependencies’
France's Macron says Europe must shape its own destiny. French President Emmanuel Macron discussed his conception of "European sovereignty" in a key address at the Nexus institute in The Hague on Tuesday.
"It means that we must be able to choose our partners and shape our own destiny, rather than being, I would say, a mere witness of the dramatic evolution of this world," he said, adding that this could be done "in a cooperative manner in keeping with our spirit of openness and partnership."
His speech came after he caused a stir over the weekend with remarks on China the US and Taiwan.
"The question we need to answer, as Europeans, is the following: Is it in our interest to accelerate [a crisis] on Taiwan? No," Macron told Les Echos and Politico on Friday. "The worst thing would be to think that we Europeans must become followers on this topic and take our cue from the US agenda and a Chinese overreaction."
Politicians in the United States, Europe and China criticized those remarks but the White House said on Monday it was "confident" in the relationship with France despite Macron's comments.
Macron spoke in English outlining his vision for a new era of "European sovereignty."
"Pandemic and war just pushed us in a situation to discover that we have to reduce our dependencies if you want to preserve the European identity," he said.
"We can set up a new economic doctrine which will allow us to reconcile creating jobs, financing our social model, dealing with climate change and being more sovereign and deciding for ourselves," he said.
"This is critical in this period when we have war and our economy is being weaponized," Macron added.
He said it should be based on five pillars: competitiveness, industrial policy, protectionism, reciprocity
The speech was part of the first formal state visit by a French president to the Netherlands in more than two decades.
Macron and his wife Brigitte were greeted by Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima.
The royals were set to host Macron for a state dinner after the speech.
He was also scheduled to see the hot-ticket Johannes Vermeer exhibition at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and meet Prime Minister Mark Rutte on a canal boat.
The visit coincides with widespread unrest and strikes back in France, after Macron sought to pass his increase in the pension age from 62 to 64 by decree, fearing it might be voted down in the lower house, the National Assembly.