President of France Emmanuel Macron has said that Europe can no longer depend on others to “feed us, take care of us, inform us or fund us”, in an address he made to French citizens on Wednesday 2 March.
The president said that Europe must become “more independent and more sovereign” as fears mount over energy supplies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“This war will shake up our Europe,” he said, adding that it was a brutal attack on Ukrainian civilians.
“War in Europe is no longer limited to our history books and our textbooks. It is here now, right before our eyes,” Macron said.
Macron added that Europe’s agricultural system is suffering and will continue to suffer because of its dependency on raw materials imported from both Russia and Ukraine.
He also expressed concerns about exports from Europe to those countries.
“Our growth, which has reached its highest point, will undoubtedly be affected,” he said.
In the 14-minute TV address, he argued that Europe needs to invest more in becoming more independent and in making its own decisions.
He said that as well as becoming an economic power, Europe must become an energy power.
“Hikes in the price of oil, gas and raw materials are impacting our purchasing power and this will continue to be the case.
“We can no longer depend on others and, in particular, on Russian gas. That is why, after deciding to develop renewable energy and build new nuclear reactors for France, I will champion an independent European energy strategy,” he said.
The French president said that he would be calling a summit on 10 and 11 March with European heads of state and the government in Versailles to address the recent unprecedented challenges.
In February the president travelled to Moscow along with several other European leaders where they engaged with President Putin to seek alternatives to armed conflict.
However, Macron said that Putin was deliberate and alone in his decision to opt for war.
He concluded by saying that he will continue to defend his citizens, adding that the war in Ukraine marks a turning point for “our continent and our generation”.