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World News | Macron urges Europe to develop its own air defenses instead of relying on the US

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Streaks of light seen in California. (Image source: video capture)

PARIS, June 20 (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday called on European countries to seek more independence in airspace defense and argued for less reliance on the United States, a long-standing divisive issue. problem, made more urgent by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Macron made the case for Europeans developing their own airspace protection strategy in his closing speech at a conference in Paris that brought together defense ministers and other representatives of 20 European countries.

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French organizers said the talks would include counter-drone operations and ballistic missile defense, noting that Moscow’s sweeping invasion of Ukraine demonstrated the importance and effectiveness of such equipment. Nuclear weapons deterrence is also on the agenda.

“We need to know what the threat situation is… Then, what can we Europeans produce? And what do we need to buy?” Macron said.

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He warned against buying “what’s on the shelf” right now.

The countries participating include Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden, as well as Ukraine’s neighbors Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Representatives of NATO and the European Union were also in attendance.

Macron has pushed European defense equipment makers to create stand-alone military systems and move production to the continent. He also called for raising European standards.

“Why do we still need to buy American so often? Because Americans are much more standardized than we are, and they themselves have federal agencies that subsidize their manufacturers heavily,” he said.

The one-day conference took place on the sidelines of the Paris Air Show, the world’s largest aerospace industry event, which opened on Monday.

France has been openly critical of German-led plans to boost European air defenses. The so-called European Sky Shield project, launched late last year, is made up of 17 European countries, including the UK, but excluding France. It is designed to be integrated into NATO air and missile defense systems.

The French government argues that the project fails to adequately safeguard European sovereignty, as it is expected to be largely based on U.S. and Israeli industry. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius attended the Paris meeting.

“With the European Skyshield initiative, we are bringing European countries together, Together strengthen our defenses against ballistic missiles, cruise missiles and drones.”

The German-led program is expected to feature Israel’s Arrow 3 system and build on existing U.S. Patriot missile capabilities.

Schultz made no mention of Paris’ opposition to the initiative.

Defense has been a recurring bone of contention between the two countries, with France complaining that Germany had not done enough in the region for years – until the war in Ukraine led Berlin to announce a major increase in military spending.

Macron said on Monday that the Mamba anti-missile system jointly developed by France and Italy “is now deployed and operational in Ukraine, protecting critical installations and life.” Paris and Rome announced the delivery of the system to Kiev in February.

“It’s really Europe protecting Europe,” Macron said.

The Mamba system is part of NATO’s integrated air and missile defense system.

Armed with Western weapons and growing experience, Ukraine’s air defenses have come a long way since the start of the war last year, saving infrastructure and lives, and preventing Russia from gaining air supremacy. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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