News ID: 214872
Published: 0220 GMT May 11, 2018

‘Don't be weak,’ Macron urges firms to stand up against US sanctions

‘Don't be weak,’ Macron urges firms to stand up against US sanctions

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday urged European companies not to be intimidated by the US threats of punishment over dealing business with Iran after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal risks exposing European countries that have since invested in Iran to renewed US sanctions after “wind-down” periods of three to six months expire. The US president has warned European companies to pull out of Iran or face sanctions.

But Macron urged Europeans to stand up against diktats from abroad. "Don't be weak," said the 40-year-old president, AFP reported.

"We need to choose, build, speak with all so as to construct our own sovereignty that will be the guarantor of stability in (the Middle East)."

Using the occasion of an award ceremony in Aachen where he received the prestigious Charlemagne prize for efforts in boosting EU integration and cohesion, Macron also made an impassioned plea to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to take swift action. 

He pressed Merkel to move decisively and quickly on reforming the European Union, warning that the bloc stands at a critical juncture as a United States led by Trump turns inward.


‘Don't wait, act now’

"Don't wait, act now," he said, urging Germany to overcome its "fetish" for budget and trade surpluses and back reforms even if it meant loosening its purse strings.

At a time when the United States is going its own way in ditching the Iran nuclear deal and the Paris climate accord, as well as threatening allies with punitive trade tariffs, Macron said Europe needs more than ever to stand united and show greater strength.

"If we accept that other major powers, including allies... put themselves in a situation to decide our diplomacy, security for us, and sometimes even make us run the worst risks, then we are not more sovereign and we cannot be more credible to public opinion," Macron said, in a clear attack against Trump's decision to quit the hard-fought Iran accord.

Merkel too underlined that Europe can no longer count on the United States.

"It is no longer such that the United States simply protects us, but Europe must take its destiny in its own hands, that's the task of the future," she said in Aachen.

But she also acknowledged that disagreements still dog many proposals for further integration of the bloc, even though she and Macron have promised to agree on a common roadmap for the future of the EU by a major summit in Brussels in June.

Macron has made little headway to date on a range of ambitious projects, most notably a common eurozone budget and finance minister, a joint military "rapid reaction force" and an EU tax on the revenues of technology giants.


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