After signing a deal to sell Greece warships, French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that Europe must boost its own military capabilities and become more independent. Under the agreement, Greece will buy between six and eight French warships worth an estimated $5 billion.
The deal comes after France lost a $65 billion contract to build submarines for Australia. The US, UK, and Australia announced a new military pact to counter China called AUKUS that will give Canberra nuclear submarines, giving the Australians no need for the French submarines. France was unaware of AUKUS until the day it was announced.
France reacted furiously to AUKUS, recalling ambassadors from both the US and Australia. But Macron and Biden have talked since, and France is sending its ambassador back to Washington on Wednesday.
“Europeans must come out of their naivety,” Macron said Tuesday. “When we are under pressure … showing that we also have power and the capacity to defend ourselves … is simply making ourselves be respected.”
Macron said Europe must take upon its own military plans in addition to NATO. “We must, as Europeans, take our part in our own protection,” he said. “It is not an alternative to the alliance with the US nor a substitute for it.”
Speaking alongside Macron in Paris, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis echoed Macron’s calls. “We have a common vision of an autonomous response capability to the challenges Europe faces,” he said.