"Brain death of NATO": Merkel rejects drastic criticism of Macron

BChancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) has rejected the drastic criticism of French President Emmanuel Macron at NATO. "I think such a sweeping blow is not necessary, even if we have problems, even if we have to gather together," said the Chancellor on Thursday after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Berlin.

"Macron has indeed chosen drastic words, that's not my view of cooperation in NATO," criticized the Chancellor. "The transatlantic partnership is essential to us." She says there are many areas where the Alliance works well. Stoltenberg joined the view of the Chancellor. "NATO is strong," he stressed.

French President Emmanuel Macron had previously certified NATO "brain death". Macron said in an interview with British magazine The Economist Thursday, "What we're experiencing right now is Nato brain death." There is "no coordination in strategic decisions between the US and its NATO allies."

Europe can no longer rely on its American allies, who "turn their backs on us". It is therefore necessary to develop their own geopolitical strategies, Macron explained: "Otherwise we will no longer control our destiny." This would include military sovereignty and the opening of a dialogue with Russia. Everything else is a "big mistake".

The European continent is currently in a toxic situation. From the inside you will be weakened by the Brexit, this is Donald Trump, the first US President, who does not share the idea of ​​"our European project". At the same time, the EU must deal with the rise of China and authoritarian regimes in Russia and Turkey.

The latter shows "uncoordinated, aggressive" action in an area in which the security interests of all affected. He was referring to the Turkish military offensive against the Kurds in northern Syria, which has met with the allies on massive criticism.

Macron questions NATO support articles

Asked if the five of the Alliance's support article is still available in the face of the Turkish offensive, Macron replied, "I do not know." If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad decides to "retaliate against Turkey, we will join it confess? "Macron asked.

Article five states that an attack on a member of NATO is an attack on all and the partners have to jump to the country concerned. It has only been used once in the history of the Alliance, following the attacks in the US on September 11, 2001 and the subsequent NATO military operation in Afghanistan.

Europe must regain its military sovereignty, Macron demanded in the interview conducted by the Economist at the Paris Elysee. The international security situation and the rising power of China have led to an "extraordinary weakness of Europe". "If Europe can not see itself as a world power, it will disappear," warned Macron.

The remarks of Macron come a few weeks before the NATO summit in early December in London. This year, the Alliance celebrates the 70th anniversary of its founding. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visits Berlin on Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Germany.

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Emmanuel Macron

At a lecture in Berlin on Thursday to 70 years of NATO Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg did not respond explicitly to the statements of Macron. However, he very clearly contradicted some of the key theses of the French president. For example, that America is breaking away from Europe. There is a considerable difference between the rhetoric occasionally heard from Washington and the substance, said Stoltenberg.

"The US does not give up Europe, but rather the opposite happens, the US is investing in Europe's security," said Stoltenberg. After the end of the block confrontation American troops were slowly withdrawn from the continent and 2013, the last US tank left Europe. "Now the US tanks are back, with a whole brigade," said Stoltenberg.

The French President also claimed that Europe was able to provide for its own safety. Although Stoltenberg welcomed the European efforts to do more in the field of defense, he firmly opposed the thesis of Macron that the continent was able to do without the US. "The EU can not defend Europe," said Stoltenberg. European unity can not replace transatlantic unity.

Germany "big winner of the euro zone"

The NATO Secretary General warned against dividing Europe and America apart. "Any attempt to dissociate Europe from North America will not only weaken the transatlantic alliance," Stoltenberg said. "It also carries the risk of dividing Europe itself." He referred in particular to the EU and NATO members in Eastern Europe, which continues to rely on a close connection to the US for its own defense.

Macron also commented on the German role in the euro zone. This was "not durable". "They are the big winners of the euro zone and even their dysfunctions. The German apparatus has to recognize today that this situation is not tenable, "stressed Macron.

As a "taboo" for the Germans, he called "the question of budgetary incentives." In view of the budget surpluses, France had repeatedly called on the Federal Government to invest and to turn its back on the "black zero". So far, Berlin refuses a change of course but from.

Criticism of Macron's statement

In the context of Macron, it was said that the president "did not want to question NATO in its entirety, but rather the institution's strategy and policy". "The statement is incomprehensible in every respect," commented Norbert Röttgen (CDU), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, but the "brain death" remark to WELT.

Macron sounds to NATO almost like US President Donald Trump, said the FDP foreign policy Alexander Graf Lambsdorff. Of course, the weakness of the US leads to a leadership vacuum in NATO. Describing these as "brain dead" heightens doubts and does not trigger a debate over new ideas for the defense alliance. "NATO is and remains the guarantor of European security. The French Force de Frappe does not replace the American nuclear umbrella, "said the FDP politician.

France has a special relationship with NATO. Although the country was a founding member in 1949, it withdrew from military integration in 1966 after the rise to a nuclear power because President Charles de Gaulle did not want to accept subordination of his troops to US command. Only in 2009, under Nicolas Sarkozy, was the country completely re-integrated into NATO.

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