In the Netherlands Macron renewed his Call for Greater European SovereigntyEU | April 12, 2023, Wednesday // 09:03| views
During his visit to the Netherlands yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron renewed his call for greater European sovereignty. In the eagerly awaited speech, Macron said that both the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine have made it clear that Europe needs to reduce its dependencies in order to preserve its identity, DPA reported, quoted by BTA.
"The pandemic and the war have simply pushed us into a situation to discover that we have to reduce our dependencies if we want to preserve European identity," Macron said during a speech delivered in The Hague.
"This means that we must be able to choose our partners and determine our own destiny, and not be, I would say, simply witnesses to the dramatic development of this world," the French president said.
This can be done "through cooperation in accordance with our spirit of openness and partnership", he added.
Macron's remarks during his two-day state visit to the Netherlands come amid sharp criticism of his remarks a few days ago about Europe's relations with China, Taiwan and the United States.
Macron said last week that Europe should avoid being drawn into the China-Taiwan conflict and instead become a third party between China and the United States, Taiwan's most important ally.
Beijing claims Taiwan, a self-governing democracy, as part of its territory, although Taipei has had an independent government since 1949.
Tensions in the Taiwan Strait have been rising since Taiwan's president met with US congressmen in California, as Beijing seeks to isolate Taiwan internationally.
In his speech yesterday, Macron also backed a stronger and more assertive European industrial policy aimed at boosting European manufacturing and reducing trade dependence on other parts of the world. "The United States has an (industrial policy) and is strengthening it, China has its own," Macron said. "We need a European one," he added.
The French president pointed out that the EU has largely freed itself of its energy dependence on Russia since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and said Europe must continue on this path.
"We need to build a new strategy that will increasingly reduce our dependencies and build greater sovereignty in the field of energy," Macron said.
Macron and First Lady Brigitte arrived in the Netherlands earlier yesterday for the first official state visit by a French president to the Netherlands in 23 years. The couple were welcomed by Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife Maxima in Amsterdam.
The arrival of the French president in Amsterdam was accompanied by a 42-gun salute on French and Dutch warships.
"President of violence and hypocrisy"
However, Macron was interrupted by demonstrators at the beginning of his speech in The Hague, dedicated to democracy and the future of Europe, journalists from AFP reported.
"What is French democracy?", "The climate agreement is not being respected" and "You have millions of demonstrators in the streets," chanted the demonstrators, interrupting the French leader's opening remarks.
Participants in the protest held placards that read "President of violence and hypocrisy" in English.
"It is very important to have a social debate," Macron said the moment he was able to regain the floor.
"I can answer all questions related to what we are discussing in France," the president said.
"The moment you say, however, 'since I disagree with the adopted law and with the people holding elected positions, I can do whatever I want,' you put democracy in danger," Macron said.
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