Germany sends NATO warning to France following Macron’s intervention
Berlin: German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned on Sunday against undermining NATO – Berlin's strongest response yet to French President Emmanuel Macron's critical remarks about the security alliance.
French President Emmanuel Macron.Credit:AP
Macron told The Economist that NATO was experiencing “brain death”, citing a lack of coordination and US unpredictability under President Donald Trump. He also expressed doubt about the US-led alliance's security maxim that an attack on one ally would be treated as an attack on all.
Maas hit back in a column published online by Der Spiegel magazine.
"It would be a mistake if we undermined NATO. Without the United States, neither Germany nor Europe will be able to effectively protect themselves," he wrote.
However, Maas did support Macron's call to strengthen Europe's defence capabilities.
"That's why together with France, we are working hard to build a Europe that works much closer together in security policy," he wrote.
France has traditionally had an ambivalent role in NATO, taking no part in its strategic military planning from 1966 to 2009 despite being a founding member. Still, Macron's comments – a month before NATO's December 4 summit in London – were unexpected.
Germany, for its part, has been accused by the United States and European allies of spending too little on defence.
Maas repeated his call for the creation of a European Security Council in which Britain should also be a member, regardless of London's planned exit from the European Union.
Maas said he was working closely on this idea with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, with Germany set to present a framework for such a council during its EU presidency in the second half of 2020.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in her weekly video podcast that NATO was the central pillar of Germany's defence architecture, adding that European countries had to take on more responsibilities in the security alliance.
"We'll also develop weapons systems together in the future. This includes the project of a new combat aircraft as well as a battle tank," she said.
Merkel was scheduled to meet Macron in Berlin on Sunday during a dinner to mark the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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