Macron wields 'tools to set EU agenda'
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The French President inaugurated his country’s presidency of the EU Council on Thursday with EU Commissioners in Paris. Mr Macron, who is also expected to run for a second term at the April presidential elections, will pursue his plan to turn the EU into a power player against China during the country’s six-month rotating presidency of the bloc.
Speaking to Politico, a senior French government official said: “I would like the EU in the coming years to become aware of its power, because power not only gives you prosperity but also the ability to defend your values.
“You can see how we sometimes hesitate to defend our values against China.
“Why do we hesitate? Because we are not powerful enough, because we want to have access to the Chinese market, because we depend on certain technologies.
“Power gives prosperity, power gives independence.
“And if we could all collectively realise that, that it’s better to be powerful than weak, that it’s better to be sovereign than vassal, it would be a great political idea for the EU.”
They added: “Today, freedom is questioned everywhere, democracy is questioned.
“Authoritarian regimes, in China or elsewhere, will tell you that they are much better than democracy.
“We have to prove that democracy is much better than anything else.
“And that it is more efficient. And that it is fairer.”
High on Mr Macron’s agenda appears to be both China and Russia’s influence in space.
Earlier this week he announced that he would host a meeting on Europe’s space strategy next month with EU ministers.
He told Le Parisien: “I will make announcements about our strategy.”
It comes three years after the US former US President Donald Trump officially launched the US Space Force.
Since then, many other countries – including France, Russia, China and the UK – have launched similar entities.
They aim to protect nation’s assets in space, conduct military operations and, if necessary, engage in space warfare.
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Mr Macron’s call for an EU-wide strategy on space comes as Beijing and Moscow have ramped up activities in space.
They have both recently conducted military drills, including the launching of missiles, which have put the lives of astronauts in danger.
More concerning, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping have stuck an anti-NATO agreement to cooperate in space for five years.
The pair will sign the new space ‘Cooperation Program’ next year and it will run from 2023 to 2027.
It will reportedly include a plan to create an International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) by 2035.
It will also include plans to support the development of the ground segment of the two countries’ national satellite systems.
This will come through Russia’s GLONASS and China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS, the Global Times reported.
It will see Russia’s Roscosmos and the China National Space Agency (CNSA) work together for years to come.
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