Macron aims to challenge China by making the EU a major player.

On Thursday, the French President welcomed EU Commissioners to Paris to launch his country’s presidency of the EU Council.

During France’s six-month rotating presidency of the EU, Mr Macron, who is also likely to compete for re-election in April, will push on with his aim to make the EU into a major player against China.

“I would like the EU in the coming years to become aware of its power,” a top French government official told Politico, “because power not only gives you prosperity but also the ability to defend your values.”

“You can see how we sometimes hesitate to defend our values against China.”

“Why do we hesitate? Because we are not powerful enough, because we want to have access to the Chinese market, because we depend on certain technologies.”

“Power gives prosperity, power gives independence.”

“And if we could all collectively realise that, that it’s better to be powerful than weak, that it’s better to be sovereign than vassal, it would be a great political idea for the EU.”

“Today, freedom is questioned everywhere, democracy is questioned,” they continued.

“Authoritarian regimes, in China or elsewhere, will tell you that they are much better than democracy.”

“We have to prove that democracy is much better than anything else.”

“And that it is more efficient. And that it is fairer.”