French Minister of the Armies Florence Parly has levelled criticism at the US practice of trying to pressure its NATO allies to buy American weapons and equipment above anything else. She argued that the alliance's charter has Article 5, stipulating the collective responsibility to defend each other, rather than "Article F-35", stipulating the collective obligation to buy US military products, in an apparent reference to the fifth-generation stealth jet that Washington has been promoting among its allies.
She further stated that countries should not choose between NATO and Europe, but the two must rather complement each other. Parly also noted that NATO can't give European states their sovereignty, but that they must achieve this themselves.
"Today, Europe does not yet have the military tools to live up to what it is as an economic and political power. NATO will never be the tool of our sovereignty. It is up to the Europeans to build their own sovereignty. It will not happen in a snap of fingers", she said in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche.
Parly has previously criticised the US push for NATO members to "buy American", reminding Washington in March 2019 that the key article in the alliance's charter is called "Article 5, not Article F-35".
Upcoming NATO Summit Amid "Brain Dead" Controversy
The minister commented on the recent statements by French President Emmanuel Macron, who called NATO a "brain dead" organisation, by opining that it was his call for a useful and healthy debate on the alliance's fundamentals. She added that such a dialogue can take place as early as this week at the NATO summit, which will be held on 3 and 4 December in London.
Macron made his comment, where he said that the North-Atlantic Treaty has been suffering from "brain death" due to a lack of coordination and US unpredictability under President Donald Trump, in an interview with The Economist on 7 November. He namely expressed his doubt about how the value of NATO's Article 5 could change in the near future and whether it will mean much.
The "brain death" comment sparked discussions among NATO members, with Germany, Turkey, Poland, and the US harshly criticising Macron for his take on the alliance's current state.