News BlogEU Defense (Doctrine)NATO

NATO in a state of brain death according to Emmanuel Macron (v2)

(B2)  French President Emmanuel Macron had already been quite tough at the European Council last October (read: The heavy fault of the West and NATO in Syria (Emmanuel Macron)). It's even harder in an interview with The Economist,, released Thursday (November 7)

The Elysée office - center of French power (credit: Elysée)

be lucid

He warns European countries that they can no longer count on America to defend their NATO allies. " For the first time, we have an American president who does not share the idea of ​​the European project, and American policy is out of alignment with this project ". The example of Syria has shown this. " At some point we will have to take stock of NATO. What we are experiencing is the brain death of NATO. You have to be lucid “, said E. Macron. " We must draw the consequences »

An uncoordinated Turkish offensive

This observation is clear, if on the military level it works, “ strategically and politically, it is clear that we have a problem ". " We are witnessing an aggression led by another NATO partner, Turkey, in an area where our interests are at stake, without coordination. There was no planning or coordination by NATO. There wasn't even a deconfliction by NATO »

The question of Article V under debate

During this interview (which took place on October 21 in his office at the Élysée in Paris), the American newspaper asked him if he believed in the effectiveness of Article V, in the idea that if a member of NATO was attacked, all would come to its aid, which, according to many analysts, underlies the deterrent effect of the alliance. " I do not know he confessed. " What is Article 5 tomorrow? That is to say, if Bashar al-Assad's regime decides to retaliate against Turkey, are we going to commit ourselves? »

A necessary European awakening

It is high time that Europe wakes up " he added. Europe finds itself on the edge of the precipice he said, and must start thinking strategically about himself as a geopolitical power. Otherwise, we don't no longer control our destiny ". " Our defence, our security, the elements of our sovereignty, must be thought out on their own. "And the" first thing to get there is to regain military sovereignty ". That is, a " Europe of defence, a Europe which must acquire strategic and capability autonomy at the military level ».

A Europe of defense in addition to NATO

Defense Europe acts in complementarity with NATO. [...] It must muscle up, because it must decide and increasingly assume its security policy in terms of the neighborhood. » Contrary to certain presuppositions, « Europe has the capacity to defend itself. European countries have strong armies, France first and foremost. Europe may be in a position to do so if it accelerates the rise in power of the Europe of defence.»

France power of balance

France sees itself as a “power of balance”. Clear " we have the right not to be total enemies with the enemies of our friends. [...] we can talk to everyone and therefore build balances to prevent the world from igniting »

The military tool necessary for diplomacy

Balance means having something military. It is " very important to keep the two levers and therefore both to seek this role of balancing power and to have military credibility. Today if you don't have military credibility, in a world where authoritarian powers are rising, it doesn't exist. Example: Syria. But military might is essentially at the service of diplomacy ". She does not have " necessarily intended to be used ».

Another policy with Russia

Another point of independence: reopen a strategic dialogue, without any naivety and which will take time, with Russia. "Europeans must" reinternalize your neighborhood policy, you cannot let it be managed by third parties who do not have the same interests as you ».

The French nuclear umbrella?

One question remains: nuclear power. France will become after Brexit “ the last nuclear-armed power in the EU. And so the question also of thinking this in relation to others is essential says E. Macron without really answering.


Download the interview transcript FR and ENG

Paper completed with points on nuclear power and defense Europe

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).