Emmanuel Macron emphasized the need for the European Union to take decisive actions in support of Ukraine, anticipating any potential reduction or withholding of military aid by the United States. Delivering a speech in Sweden, a country aspiring to join NATO, the French president underscored the necessity for Europe to play a proactive role in shaping its security framework, rather than relying solely on the United States and Russia.
Macron issued a cautionary message to Europe, urging an escalation in its overall defense efforts. He suggested that Europe must be prepared for the possibility that either President Joe Biden may face challenges in securing approval for his military assistance budget for Ukraine or, later in the year, could be defeated in a presidential election by an isolationist Donald Trump.
The French president argued that if Europe intensifies its efforts and helps prevent a Russian victory, NATO, led by the United States, cannot continue to monopolize the determination of future relations with Moscow. Speaking alongside Sweden’s Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, at the Swedish Defense Academy, Macron stressed, “This is a critical moment for Europe. We must be prepared to act in defense and support of Ukraine, regardless of America’s decisions.”
While acknowledging the historical partnership with the United States, Macron emphasized that Europe needs to make bold decisions independently to support Ukraine, regardless of the stance taken by America. He insisted on Europe taking decisive and courageous actions for years to come, emphasizing that preventing a Russian victory is crucial for maintaining a stable security architecture in NATO’s eastern flank, the Caucasus, and Central Asia.
Macron called for an increase in Europe’s defense production capabilities to enable Ukraine to negotiate a sustainable peace. He commended the EU’s response to Russian aggression over the past two years but stressed the need for further efforts, urging a comparison of defense spending with Russia’s adaptations to highlight the gaps.
Additionally, Macron called for greater European cooperation and autonomy in the energy sector, advocating for a more diverse supplier base. He criticized past reliance on energy exchanges with Russia as a mistake, emphasizing the need to avoid vulnerability to unilateral decisions.
Highlighting the geopolitical minority status of Europe in past defense negotiations, Macron called for a shift in decision-making power, particularly in arms control and security treaties. He emphasized the importance of Europe deciding its future and being at the forefront of discussions, asserting that involvement with Ukraine is not only about preventing a Russian victory but also about Europe determining its own destiny.