Ahead of NATO summit, France urges Europe to muscle up, politico.eu

Listen closely to French Defense Minister Florence Parly and it almost sounds like France is going to miss Donald Trump’s bullying at June’s NATO summit.

It’s not that Parly, or her president, Emmanuel Macron, don’t welcome the United States’ return to diplomatic form under President Joe Biden. They are “delighted,” she says.

However, France is also worried the renewed transatlantic lovefest will slow, or even halt, an awakening among Europeans on the need to spend more on defense — something Trump encouraged at higher, harsher volume than his predecessors.  […]

Yet, European partners accuse Paris of insensitivity to their security needs, of seeking to impose its strategic view and multiply its strength through them. Critics, on both sides of the Atlantic, decry French appeals for stronger European defense as a threat to NATO’s unity or a scheme to prop up France’s arms and aerospace industry.

Parly forcefully disputes that. She insists a more robust European defense is essential to bolster NATO, and says European allies cannot brush aside fundamental changes in the strategic context of the transatlantic relationship, regardless of who’s in the White House.

“The strategic interest of the United States has structurally moved to Asia and, whatever the Europeans may wish, that’s a data point,” Parly said. […]

As an example, she pointed to China, where, despite a recent hardening of positions, the Europeans don’t necessarily share Washington’s level of concern. “If the United States and China are in a form of confrontation, do we Europeans want to be in a confrontation?” Parly asked. Läs artikel