“It will allow us to have a common European position at NATO and to act together in a more coordinated way,” Macron said, adding that he wants to develop Europe’s defense industry and increase the bloc’s technological autonomy.

French President Emmanuel Macron pledged Friday to boost Europe’s strategic power and sovereignty, as France formally took the reins of the 27-nation bloc for the next six months with big ambitions, reports AP.

A leitmotif of the French presidency over the next six months will be the need for greater autonomy for the region. Macron has been championing the idea since he took power five years ago and will use the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU, which sets the political agenda of the region, to try to put it into practice.

Speaking during a joint press conference with the head of the EU’s executive arm, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Macron said the bloc will finalize this semester the EU’s so-called strategic compass, its geopolitical strategy that focuses on defense capacity building.

“It will allow us to have a common European position at NATO and to act together in a more coordinated way,” Macron said, adding that he wants to develop Europe’s defense industry and increase the bloc’s technological autonomy.

Amid lingering tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Macron added that the EU will also build proposals for “an architecture of European security,” which is still largely dependent on the U.S. and NATO.

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