Europe must break 'Chinese-American duopoly', Macron says

The old “Washington Consensus” – democratic government and free-market economics – had alleviated poverty and opened up world trade, but it has led society to a “break point”.

Now, a “financialised” and “over-concentrated” capitalism was not up to the job of tackling the biggest challenges facing the world: climate change and inequality.

‘We are not the United States of America’

He said Europe shared America’s love of freedom and human rights, but “we are not the United States of America”. Europe was more committed to social democracy and equality, and had a different take on geopolitics.

“It is therefore not tenable that our international policy should be dependent on it [the United States] or be trailing behind it. And what I am saying is even truer for China,” he said.

The incoming Democratic administration of Joe Biden would not change this calculus, he said – but it would allow Europe to develop its push for more sovereignty in a less confrontational manner.


Europe was building its own defence capability, and “making progress in the field of technological and strategic autonomy”, he said, name-checking 5G telecoms and cloud computing as examples. The bloc was also gradually melding economic policy.

He also said Europe had to become less dependent on the greenback, which allowed US sanctions law to weaken European sovereignty – a point Dr Merkel has also made repeatedly in recent years.

Mr Macron envisioned an international order based on “coalitions of projects and players” on “a level playing field”. As an example, he recalled bypassing US President to work with US states and companies to fight carbon emissions and implement the Paris climate agreement.

“We need to reinvent the forms of international cooperation,” he said. “If there is to be cooperation, balanced poles must be able to structure this cooperation, around a new multilateralism, that is to say a dialogue between the different powers to make decisions together.”

Mr Macron also inveighed against Islamic extremism – which has surged to the top of his inbox following a spate of jihadist attacks in France – and populism.

On Islamic extremism, he said his generation’s struggle was a fight for freedoms and a defence of Enlightenment values.

On populism, he said inequality and globalisation had led to dislocation among both the working and middle classes, which had caused them to question whether democracy was delivering for them.

“That is precisely what we are seeing everywhere, from the United States of to Brexit, and the warning shots in our country as well as in many European countries,” he said.

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