FRANCE has further risked the wrath of Donald Trump after its finance minister called for the European Union to become an “empire” superstate to rival the United States and China.
Bruno Le Maire came out in support for French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for a “real European army” but suggested Brussels should go one further and establish itself as an “empire”. Mr Le Maire made the shock admission after the US President branded his French counterpart’s comments “very insulting” and suggested EU countries should instead focus on living up to their Nato spending commitments. "it's about Europe having to become a kind of Empire, as China is. And how the US is," the French finance minister told the Handelsblatt newspaper.
“I’m talking about a peaceful empire which is a constitutional state."
After being quizzed by his interview on his comments, he added: “Do not get me wrong, I'm talking about a peaceful empire that's a constitutional state.
"I use the term to raise awareness that the world of tomorrow will be about power. Power will make a difference: technological power, economic, financial, monetary, cultural power will be crucial.
"Europe should no longer shy away from using its power and being an empire of peace.
He demanded EU countries tell Mr Trump that Europe is a “sovereign continent” and should decide who it trades with itself.
“We want a way to exchange goods and services when financial flows between Iran and Europe are no longer possible,” he said.