France's Macron announces missiles and bombs for Ukraine, suggests he could work with Trump

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French President Emmanuel Macron listens to a question during his first prime-time news conference to announce his top priorities for the year as he seeks to revitalize his presidency, vowing to focus on "results" despite not having a majority in parliament, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024 at the Elysee Palace in Paris. (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron announced plans Tuesday to deliver more long-range cruise missiles as well as bombs to Ukraine and suggested that he'd find ways to work with Donald Trump in the event that he wins another presidency.

“I take the leaders that the people give me,” the French leader said, adding that he is prepared to talk to “anyone” when France's interests are in play.

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“I had to do this with President Trump throughout his term,” Macron said. He noted that while they found common cause on some issues, they were divided on others, notably fighting climate change and taxes.

Macron's musings about Trump came at a wide-ranging news conference where he addressed an array of domestic and international issues for more than two hours.

He cautioned that regardless of who wins the White House, Europe should brace for the possibility that U.S. priorities may lie elsewhere.

"They share our values, but it is a democracy that is also going through crisis," Macron said. He said its “first priority is itself” and that its second is China.

“So we Europeans must all be clear about this. This is also why I want a stronger Europe, that knows how to protect itself and isn't dependent on others,” he said. “This is how I am preparing for the American election, regardless of its outcome.”

Turning to Ukraine, Macron said he will travel there next month and finalize a security agreement with the government in Kyiv. He said a Russian victory would undermine the international rules-based order and make life “impossible” for Russia's neighbors.

“We cannot let Russia win and we must not do that,” he said.

He said France plans to deliver about 40 long-range missiles and “several hundred bombs that our Ukrainian friends are waiting for.” They will come on top of previous French deliveries of artillery, light tanks and other military hardware, training for Ukrainian troops, and French efforts to boost Ukrainian production and purchases of weaponry.

Much of Macron's prime-time news conference focused on domestic issues. He laid out broad plans to strengthen and better prepare France for global crises, saying the country has "all the aces to succeed.”

The event was Macron’s latest effort to reinvigorate his presidency after bruising domestic battles, notably about France’s retirement age and how to better control immigration, and riots last year that swept hundreds of cities, towns and villages after the fatal police shooting of a teenager.

In a year when France will be in the global spotlight as host of the Summer Olympics in Paris, Macron seeks a fresh start in 2024. Last week, Macron installed a new prime minister, France’s youngest ever, and new ministers. Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, 34, and Cabinet members looked on, seated together to one side, as Macron held court in the presidential Elysee Palace on Tuesday night.

Of his new government, Macron said he expects it to show “daring, efficiency, action.” Against a blue-white-and-red background, he took deep dives into daily life issues, from health care costs and the time children spend on screens to schooling and how to boost France’s birth rate.

Macron’s second term as president is beset by his lack of a majority in parliament. He faces a struggle to remain relevant and not become a lame duck. The news conference was a bid to show that he still has ambition and plans, timed in the evening to reach a broad audience. He spoke often without notes.

Macron is also eyeing his legacy. Constitutionally barred from running for a third consecutive term in 2027, Macon faces the risk of being succeeded by one of his most tenacious political opponents: far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

Beaten by Macron in the presidential run-offs of both 2017 and 2022, Le Pen and her National Rally party have grown in strength during Macron's reign.

Macron was particularly animated Tuesday night when talking about Le Pen's camp, calling it “the party of lies.”

He argued that a far-right victory in 2027 isn't written.

“A lot of things happen in three and half years," he said.


Leicester contributed from Le Pecq, France.

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