French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday called for Europe to stop relying on the United States for its military defence as he pushed for fresh EU integration in the face of rising nationalism around the continent.

Relaunching his diplomatic agenda after the summer break, the 40-year-old president said he would put forward new proposals in the coming months for the EU to boost defence cooperation, as well as talks with Russia on their security relationship — an issue of concern for countries on Europe’s eastern edge.

“Europe can no longer rely on the United States for its security. It is up to us to guarantee European security,” Macron told an audience of some 250 diplomats, lawmakers and international relations experts.

His comments follow US President Donald Trump repeatedly distanced himself from the NATO military alliance, which groups the United States with most of Europe and has underpinned European security since World War II.

Macron’s comments are likely to find support in EU powerhouse Germany after Foreign Minister Heiko Maas made a similar call for boosted military cooperation last week.

Writing in the Handelsblatt newspaper, Maas called for Europe to “take an equal share of the responsibility” and “form a counterweight” to Washington as Europe-US relations cool.

France and Germany have both backed the idea of a small joint European response force over the last year, and have announced plans to develop a fighter jet together.

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