France was incensed earlier this month to find out that Australia had signed a deal with the United States and Britain for nuclear-powered submarine technology under a new AUKUS security partnership, in the process abandoning a 2016 deal in which Canberra had agreed to buy French diesel-powered submarines.
The incident caused much soul-searching in Paris over its traditional alliances. Speaking for the first time in public on the issue, Macron on Tuesday seized the opportunity to urge more European autonomy as Washington increasingly reorientates its interests towards China and the Indo-Pacific.
“The Europeans must stop being naive. When we are under pressure from powers, which at times harden (their stance), we need to react and show that we have the power and capacity to defend ourselves. Not escalating things, but protecting ourselves,” Macron said.