French President Emmanuel Macron said Europeans should play a greater role within the NATO military alliance in order to be less dependent on the United States.
Macron said he wants “more European defence to get … a less unbalanced NATO.” That came after he met with Turkish President Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the side-lines of a NATO summit.
He also said he requested clarifications from Turkey, without elaborating. Macron strongly criticized Turkey’s military operation in Syria and its role within the NATO alliance.
Macron reaffirmed he wants to improve relations with Russia. He said while Europe and Russia disagree on some issues, they are also partners in other areas.
The comments come after Macron met with President Donald Trump amid tensions over the French leader’s recent comments that NATO is experiencing “brain death.”
Increasingly tense relations between President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron were on display when the subject of Islamic State fighters surfaced on the sidelines of the NATO summit in London.
Trump says many of the IS fighters who remain detained in the Middle East are from France, Germany and Britain. Trump asked Macron: “Would you like some nice ISIS fighters? I can give them to you.”
Macron wasn’t amused.
Macron says he’s looking at foreign fighters from France on a case-by-case basis and has taken back some fighters. Several French IS suspects will be returned to France on Dec. 9.
But he says the No. 1 problem is not foreign fighters, but in finishing the war against IS.
Trump told Macron his response was one of the “greatest non answers” he’s ever heard.