EU leaders, eyeing autonomy, get noisy on defense,

The EU may aspire to “strategic autonomy,” but Friday’s virtual summit of heads of state and government showed leaders experiencing another concept: strategic cacophony.

While the European Council leaders issued an anodyne joint statement insisting the EU would take numerous steps “to take more responsibility for its security,” their meeting reflected a chorus of disagreement. They differed over how much priority to give security and defense issues in the EU framework. They diverged over how closely to align with NATO. And they deviated over how much independence — if any — to seek from the United States, historically the bloc’s closest ally. […]

But some EU leaders, notably French President Emmanuel Macron, insist that strategic autonomy has become an even greater imperative after the last four years in which disagreements with former U.S. President Donald Trump showed that European allies should not rely on the United States for security guarantees.

In an interview with the Financial Times last week, Macron defended his previous criticism of NATO, saying: “Nobody can tell me that today’s NATO is a structure that, in its foundations, is still pertinent. It was founded to face down the Warsaw Pact. There is no more a Warsaw Pact.”

It was a curious reinterpretation of the alliance’s origins, but also reflected a worrisome development for some other European capitals: the president of France, which has EU’s strongest armed forces and is its sole nuclear power after Brexit, seems intent on shaking up both his EU partners and NATO allies. […]

Macron has insisted on pursuing a rapprochement with Russia, which he defended again in a recent speech to the Munich Security Conference, and he has repeatedly been embroiled in tensions with Turkey over Libya and other issues. Macron has complained that other allies refuse to help keep Ankara in line. Läs artikel