French President Emmanuel Macron said yesterday that he would put forward new proposals for the European Union to boost its security, saying the bloc must stop depending on American might.
"Europe can no longer rely on the United States for its security. It is up to us to guarantee European security," he said in a speech to relaunch his diplomatic agenda.
His proposals will be unveiled "in the coming months", Macron told an audience of some 250 diplomats, lawmakers and international relations experts gathered to mark the return from the summer break.
"I want us to launch an exhaustive review of our security with all Europe's partners, which includes Russia," he added.
Macron's comments came after a string of gestures from US President Donald Trump distancing himself from traditional Nato allies.
Trump has repeatedly called into question the Western alliance's core commitment to mutual defence, while complaining that the US spends too much on military support for Europe.
Macron came to power last year vowing to overhaul the EU and has pushed for deep political reforms -- including a separate budget for the eurozone -- which have so far met with lukewarm support.
The French president, who will head to Denmark and Finland for a three-day trip from today hoping to shore up support for his EU shake-up, called for redoubled efforts to reform the bloc.
"We need to take new initiatives, build new alliances," he said.
"France wants a Europe which protects, even as extremism has grown stronger and nationalism has awoken," he said.
EU powerhouse Germany has given only muted backing to Macron's ambitious plans, but his call for greater European military cooperation echoes recent comments by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
Writing in the Handelsblatt newspaper, Maas called last week for Europe to "take an equal share of the responsibility" and "form a counterweight" to Washington as Europe-US relations cool.