France’s Macron Uses D-Day Speech to Lecture Trump on NATO, European Union

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) speaks with US President Donald Trump ahead of a meeting at the Prefecture of Caen, Normandy, north-western France, on June 6, 2019, on the sidelines of D-Day commemorations marking the 75th anniversary of the World War II Allied landings in Normandy. (Photo by Ludovic MARIN …
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An event commemorating the D-Day landings took a distinctly political turn Thursday after French president Emmanuel Macron used his speech to promote the European Union, the political bloc he aspires to turn into a military power.

Speaking in front of a crowd of D-Day veterans, the President of the United States, and other dignitaries and VIPs, President Macron suggested at the event that being “worthy” of the memory of the events of 1944 meant supporting the European Union.

Amid a speech which largely stuck to honouring veterans and thanking the United States for sacrificing its soldiers to liberate Europe from centralised control from Berlin, the French president talked up his vision of a Europe under centralised control from Brussels, and particularly pushed the importance of military cooperation.

President Macron said:

We shall never cease to perpetuate the alliance of free peoples.

That is what the victorious sides did, when they created the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

That is what a few years later the leaders of Europe did in bringing about the European Union. The lessons of Colleville-sur-mer are clear: liberty and democracy are inseparable.

A key ambition of Macron’s Presidency is to transform Europe, to make it more centralised and integrated. An important part of this is to create a single European military, a project championed and being driven on by both Germany and France.

What President Macron seemingly forgot to mention in his passionate praise of free peoples uniting voluntarily is the difficulty that seems to come with revoking consent of belonging to that group. The European Union of which he spoke so approvingly has actively worked to make the United Kingdom’s withdrawal as difficult as possible, even openly admitting they were doing so to discourage other nations from going their own way.

The prolonged Brexit process has proven a source of immense frustration to President Macron, given its domination of the European political scene has left leaders with no time to consider his proposals to change the continent.

Outlets including the Guardian interpreted Macron’s words as a direct attack on President Trump, asserting that he had failed to live up to the “heritage of peace” and the “promise of Normandy”.

The mainstream media has pushed the narrative of a President Trump who has weakened the NATO alliance in the run-up to today’s events, with the clear implication President Trump has not honoured the sacrifices being remembered in France during the commemorations.

Yet despite alarming claims that President Trump has weakened NATO by calling on its members to fulfil their obligations to the alliance, even Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May has this week praised Trump for strengthening it.

May, who is by no means a fan of the President and has criticised his policies and style of leadership on several occasions, said during a joint press conference in London on Tuesday that America under President Trump had been a steadfast security ally, standing besides Britain after a chemical attack thought to have been launched by Russian agents and during the bombing of Syria.

The British prime minister said then: “Since we spoke about NATO during my first visit to the White House, we have maintained our support for this crucial alliance. Thanks in part to your clear message on burden sharing, Donald, we have seen members pledge another $100 billion, increasing their contributions to our shared security.”

Despite choosing NATO as a line of attack against President Trump, President Macron is himself guilty of letting the alliance down. Every NATO member is bound by treaty obligation to spend two per cent of national GDP on defence for the common security good — but France does not, while the United States, United Kingdom, and others do.

While President Macron used Thursday’s speech to goad President Trump, his comments were a far cry from those he made in the presence of his American counterpart during the Great War 1918-2018 commemorations, when he went on a full assault against nationalism, which he called “treason”. President Trump hit back at Macron’s comments shortly after, pointing out the French leader’s low approval ratings and high unemployment levels, suggesting that he was attacking populism as a means to deflect from his own problems at home.

 Oliver JJ Lane is the editor of Breitbart London — Follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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