Macron Willing to Trade France’s UN Security Council Seat to Brussels in Exchange for an EU Army

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a military ceremony (Prise d'armes) at the Invalides in Paris, on November 26, 2018. (Photo by PHILIPPE WOJAZER / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP via Getty Images)
PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP via Getty Images

President Emmanuel Macron is willing to trade control of France’s permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council to Brussels in exchange for European Union member states backing his plan to forge an EU Army, an ally of the French leader has said.

Macron, who at the start of his presidency declared that he wished to govern like the Roman God Jupiter, is set to become the European Union’s most influential leader with Chancellor Angela Merkel set to step down after Sunday’s elections in Germany.

Part of this Jupitarian strategy will be to push for the creation of a centrally controlled European Army with France at the helm in the wake of President Biden’s bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan and the AUKUS defence pact signed between the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

In order to accomplish the lofty goal of a centralised European military force, Mr Macron is reportedly willing to cede control of France’s permanent position on the UN Security Council.

A close Macron ally, Sandro Gozi told The Telegraph: “I think that if we move on these things we can put on the table also the discussion on the Security Council.”

The former Italian Europe minister and current transnational MEP for Macron’s party in Brussels added: “We must be prepared to confirm our transatlantic alliance but also to become adult in terms of our security and take on our responsibility… Certainly, Macron will push a lot. I would say this is probably his highest priority now.”

France is currently the only EU member state to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council after the UK left the bloc at the beginning of this year. While Brussels does not have a seat on the influential body, it sits in “observer” status.

The indication of a potential trade of the UN seat for a France-led EU Army comes as the French are set to take control of the rotating EU presidency on January 1st. President Macron is set to lead a joint summit on European defence alongside the EU Council president and close Macron ally Charles Michel during the six-month period in which France controls the presidency.

“This is a unique opportunity for him and for Europe,” said Mr Gozi.

Interestingly, Germany previously called on France to cede control of its UN seat so the EU could speak with “speak with one voice” on the world stage but France refused. The call came from then-German finance minister Olaf Scholz, who is currently the frontrunner to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor.

While previously dismissed as a conspiracy theory by anti-Brexit activists in Britain, the EU took its first significant step to form an EU army in 2017 with 23 EU member-states signing a pact to create a Common Defence Fund for a joint military force.

Following President Joe Biden’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan last month, leading figures in Brussels have openly advocated for the EU to have its own army and become less reliant on the United States.

In her state of the union address to the EU parliament last week, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the bloc must build the “political will” to create its own military force.

The president of the European Council, Charles Michel said that the Afghanistan disaster demonstrated the need for the EU to increase its “strategic autonomy“.

In response to France being sidelined by the Biden administration in the deal to provide nuclear submarines to Australia, Mr Michel said on Tuesday that it has seriously damaged relations between the US and the EU.

“At least with Donald Trump it was very, very clear that he was not in favour of the European integration, that for him Europe doesn’t matter, but it was clear,” Michel said.

“With the new Joe Biden administration, America is back. What does it mean America is back? Is America back in America or somewhere else? We don’t know.”

British MPs have cautioned against the idea of forming an EU Army, warning of the potential detriment to the NATO alliance, backing up statements made by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg earlier this month.

Top Tory MP Bob Seely said: “If the EU Army undermines NATO, or results in the separation of the US and Europe or produces a paper army, Europe will be committing the most enfeebling and dangerous act of self-harm since the rise of fascism in the 1930s.”

Seely said that Macron’s positioning seems to be “more about France needing to see and present itself as a great power through what it hopes is its domination of the EU”.

“Considering the economic imbalance between France and Germany, I worry it is a little delusional – it certainly has proved to be so in the past,” he added.

The chairman of the defence select committee in the House of Commons, Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood said: “The UK represents a quarter of Europe’s entire military capability. It would be only helping our adversaries to exclude us from any discussion about advancing our continental defence posture.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.