French Finance Minister Bruno La Maire voiced an unexpected idea during his interview with the German media outlet Handelsblatt; he suggested that the EU should become a 'peaceful empire' based on the principle of the rule of law. He added that Europe will be different from other 'empires', such as the US or China.
"Europe should no longer fear utilizing its power and be an empire of peace," he said.
La Maire stressed that "power" will be the decisive force in the world of the future. He further elaborated that he meant economic, financial, monetary, and cultural power, as well as the power of technological advancement.
During the course of the interview, the French cabinet minister also urged Europe to stand up to "illegitimate" US sanctions against Iran, and promised that the recently created special purpose entity will help the EU to overcome them.
"We should tell the US loud and clear: 'We are a sovereign continent and we decide ourselves with whom we will have trade'," La Maire said.
Previously, French President Emmanuel Macron came up with the idea to create a "real European army." He stressed that the EU can no longer count on US protection, citing Washington's recent decision to quit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Macron added that Europe must protect itself from countries like China, Russia and "even the US."
Several EU states, including France, tried to dissuade the US from imposing sanctions against Iran following Washington's exit from the Iran nuclear deal. Washington refused to alter its decision, putting a lot of European companies at risk of being affected by the second round of sanctions. In response, Brussels launched the development of a mechanism for protecting European business from the US sanctions.