“Plan” for the fight against Russian disinformation, reiterated support for Ukraine but above all unity in the face of the threats made by Donald Trump: the French, German and Polish foreign ministers presented a united face on Monday near Paris.
“We will not allow ourselves to be divided,” affirmed the head of Polish diplomacy Radoslaw Sikorski, invited, like German counterpart Annalena Baerbock, by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Séjourné, to a meeting in “Weimar” format at the Château de La Celle-Saint-Cloud.
In this historic residence in the Paris suburbs, owned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which once hosted Queen Elizabeth II and “First Lady” Jacqueline Kennedy, a tirade from the former American president, who wishes to return to the White House , resonated in everyone’s heads.
On Sunday, during a campaign rally, Donald Trump caused trouble by threatening to no longer guarantee the protection of NATO countries against Russia if they did not pay their share, even asserting that he would “encourage” Moscow to attack them.
Comments described as “irresponsible” by the German president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on a visit to Cyprus. “Any relativization of NATO’s guarantee of assistance” is “dangerous” and “only serves the interests of Russia,” said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at a press conference in Berlin.
Monday, France, Germany and Poland, three countries with considerable weight both geographically – they represent Western, Central and Eastern Europe – and demographically with some 200 million inhabitants, almost half of the EU population, therefore showed their union.
“The Atlantic alliance is not a contract with a security company,” stressed Mr. Sikorski. When after September 11, 2001, “Poland sent a brigade armed for ten years to Afghanistan, we did not send the bill to Washington,” he continued, preferring to remember President Trump who “had sent Javelin missiles to Ukraine” before the Russian invasion of February 2022.
The French Minister of Foreign Affairs pleaded for a “second European life insurance”, “not in substitution, not against NATO but in addition” to this organization.
“Every four years (i.e. at the rate of the American presidential elections, editor’s note), Europe cannot afford the luxury of thinking about its own security and being dependent on an external election,” he said. argued.
“Sense of history”
“That’s the meaning of history,” said Mr. Séjourné, adding that we had to prepare for the possibility that Republican Donald Trump would return to the White House.
Her German counterpart Annalena Baerbock insisted on the “need for a European security and defense union”, while reiterating the importance of defending Ukraine.
“The billions we are investing in Ukraine are billions we are investing in our own security,” she said.
Germany, France and Poland have a very significant military weight within the EU – more than a quarter of spending in this sector – and also have broad political representation.
Before this meeting, President Emmanuel Macron received Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk at the Élysée, thus sealing the reunion between Paris and Warsaw after diplomatically tense years under the previous nationalist PiS government. Mr. Tusk then traveled to Berlin.
The foreign ministers also unveiled new cooperation against foreign disinformation operations, particularly coming from Russia, while France announced on Monday that it had uncovered a “structured and coordinated Russian propaganda” network targeting European countries and UNITED STATES.
At least 193 websites make up this network, according to a report from Viginum, the French organization fighting foreign digital interference. They “do not produce any original content but massively relay” a pro-Russian discourse, the authors explain.
“Networks, disinformation, falsified sites are an attack on our European democracy,” observed Ms. Baerbock, who called for “developing a plan to manage disinformation.”
Paris, Berlin and Warsaw believe that enhanced cooperation within the framework of the Weimar triangle is a means of consolidating Europe’s position on the international scene and responding more effectively to common challenges.
The issue of the Middle East and the war in Gaza was also discussed. “If Israel begins an offensive in Rafah, it will be a humanitarian catastrophe waiting to happen,” warned Annalena Baerbock.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Monday his determination to continue “military pressure until complete victory” on Hamas, of which Rafah is the “last bastion”, to free “all our hostages”. According to the UN, 1.4 million Gazans are gathered in Rafah.