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“Europe could die”, warns Macron in a speech at the Sorbonne

French President Emmanuel Macron called this Thursday (25) for stronger and more integrated European defenses and said the continent must not become a vassal of the United States, while outlining his vision for a more assertive European Union in the global.

With just three years remaining in his second and final term in office, and having lost his parliamentary majority in 2022, Macron, 46, wants to show his critics that he retains the energy and fresh thinking that helped him rise to the presidency in 2017.

“There is a risk that our Europe will die. We are not equipped to face the risks,” Macron said in his speech at Sorbonne University in Paris, warning that military, economic, trade and other pressures could weaken and fragment the 27-nation EU.

Macron said Russia must not win in Ukraine, and called for a boost in Europe's cybersecurity capability, closer defense ties with post-Brexit Britain and the creation of a European academy to train senior military personnel.

“There is no defense without a defense industry… we have had decades of underinvestment,” he said, adding that Europeans should give preference to purchasing European military equipment.

“We have to produce more, we have to produce faster, and we have to produce like Europeans,” he said.

Macron said Europe risks falling behind economically in a context where global free trade rules are being challenged by major competitors, and called for a reduction in bureaucracy in small and medium-sized businesses.

Impact on bloc policies

The French leader hopes his speech will have the same impact as a similar speech at the Sorbonne he gave seven years ago, which prefigured some significant changes in EU policy.

Since then, much has changed, with major geopolitical challenges including the war in Gaza, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and growing tensions between China and the US.

Thursday's speech was billed by Macron's advisers as France's contribution to the EU's strategic agenda for the next five years. The agenda must be decided after the European elections, when EU leaders will negotiate the bloc's main positions.

Macron has seen his personal popularity fall, while his renaissance centrist party is trailing the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) in polls ahead of European Parliament elections on June 6-9.

Another challenge for Macron is that in the European Parliament, his group, Renew, is now the third largest but could fall to fourth place, polls show, which would further limit his influence.

Source: CNN Brasil

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