France’s president said on Thursday he was glad that his recent comment that NATO had become “brain dead” sparked a discussion on genuine issues within the alliance, rather than only financial ones.
Speaking at a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Paris, Emmanuel Macron was asked if he still thought NATO was “brain dead”.
Macron said the last two NATO summits were strictly dedicated on how to reduce the financial burden on the U.S.
However, there were also other issues to discuss such as peace in Europe, the deposed Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty between Washington and Moscow, the relationship with Russia, the issue of Turkey and how to designate enemies.
“So maybe we needed a wake-up call,” he stressed.
Macron said he was glad that now, NATO could look into its purpose and ultimate goals.
“We have the responsibility of not simply continuing to talk about financial issues, given what the genuine challenges are today,” he added.
Macron added that he wants to have a genuine discussion with Turkey over its operation in northern Syria and acquisition of Russian S-400 air defense systems.
For his part, Stoltenberg said that in recent years, NATO deployed the most reinforcements since the end of the Cold War.
“North America and Europe are doing more together than we have done for decades,” he said.
Stoltenberg said he welcomes EU efforts on defense and that if done in the right way, these efforts could strengthen NATO’s European pillar.
“But the EU cannot defend Europe. European unity cannot replace Transatlantic unity,” he stressed.
The meeting between Stoltenberg and Macron came ahead of a crunch summit of NATO leaders in London slated for Dec. 3-4.
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