Ahead of NATO summit, France urges Europe to muscle up

 Listen closely to French Defense Minister Florence Parly and it almost sounds like France is going to miss Donald Trump’s bullying at June’s NATO summit.

It’s not that Parly, or her president, Emmanuel Macron, don’t welcome the United States’ return to diplomatic form under President Joe Biden. They are “delighted,” she says.

However, France is also worried the renewed transatlantic lovefest will slow, or even halt, an awakening among Europeans on the need to spend more on defense — something Trump encouraged at higher, harsher volume than his predecessors.  

“In the Euro-Atlantic relationship there’s a constant, which is that the Europeans must handle more of their security themselves,” Parly told POLITICO in an interview in her office in Paris…

Still, while France is advocating for ramping up European defense, it is not sold on NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg’s proposal to increase NATO’s common funding.

“All this money is money that won’t go toward increasing national budgets and a European defense effort that benefits NATO,” Parly said. “And to do what? No one is able to tell you. We have to double the budget and then we’ll think about what to do with the money?”

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