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NATO needs to know who its enemies are, says Macron

French President Macron holds a presser ahead of the G7 Summit in Paris

PARIS (Reuters) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday NATO still needs to make clear its strategic priorities, nearly a year after he said the trans-Atlantic alliance was “brain dead”.

“We need to know who our enemies are and where,” Macron told a news conference. NATO needs to work out a strategy regarding Russia, while China should not be the alliance’s priority, he added.

NATO needs a Russia strategy that is “demanding, intractable even, when Russia launches incursions, cyber attacks or intimidates, but which also makes it possible to take into account the geography of Europe”, Macron said.

NATO allies meet for a summit in Brussels next week.

Reuters revealed in late May that a $20 billion plan to give NATO more flexibility in facing challenges such as the rise of China and climate change had hit stiff resistance from France, which is concerned the move could undermine its own defence priorities.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg proposed in February that allies put more money directly into existing, albeit small common budgets – a response to long-standing tensions with the United States, which says the European allies do not contribute enough to their own defence.

(Reporting by Michel Rose; Writing by Richard Lough and Gareth Jones; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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