Macron insists EU should not be US 'vassal': Is the French president isolated?

The fallout continues from Emmanuel Macron's remarks about China and the US. On his way back from a state visit to China, the French president said that Europe should not be a "follower" of either Washington or Beijing, or get caught up in any escalation. Despite the resulting backlash on both sides of the Atlantic, he stood by the comments, saying on a later trip to the Netherlands that being a US ally doesn't mean being a "vassal".

Macron insists that the French line on Taiwan has not changed. But China hawks in Europe and America have continued to criticise him, saying that he has weakened the West's position vis-à-vis Xi Jinping. Adding to the tensions, the Chinese ambassador to France has questioned the sovereignty of ex-Soviet states, something that has caused uproar in the EU.

So is it time for the European Union to get tough with Beijing? Or to strike a more balanced approach? We discuss the issue with two MEPs.

Programme produced by Yi Song, Isabelle Romero, Sophie Samaille and Perrine Desplats

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