“What is happening in Ukraine is not just an illustration of the trends already at work, it is a massive acceleration,” he said, presenting the latest national review of France’s strategic challenges and objectives. (RNS) from the amphibious helicopter carrier Dixmude, one of the largest French warships, in the harbor of Toulon (Var).
“This war also clarifies the state of the world in which we find ourselves, the weakening of norms and taboos, the intoxication of appetites. It qualifies this dangerous moment when the old balance is challenged and the new is not achieved. “, underlined the head of state.
In such a context, France intends to remain a power “respected for its status as a nuclear-armed state, engine of European strategic autonomy, exemplary ally in the Euro-Atlantic area, reliable and credible partner”, he hammered.
The president thus reaffirmed that the French nuclear deterrent “contributed” to the “security” of Europe, thus clarifying recent statements which had seemed to call this issue into question.
“Today even more than yesterday, the vital interests of France have a European dimension (…) Let us be careful not to forget that France does indeed have nuclear deterrence and let us sometimes be careful not to dramatize a few remarks”, he pointed.
– Fin de Barkhane –
On October 12, the Head of State had caused trouble by declaring on the France 2 channel that a nuclear strike “in the region” of Ukraine, potentially implying in European countries members of NATO, did not fall within the “fundamental interests” of France.
Emmanuel Macron pleaded for European defense “coalitions”, insisting in passing on the need for France and Germany to succeed more quickly in their thwarted tank and combat aircraft projects of the future.
If he continues to push for more European sovereignty, a speech that worries Eastern Europeans, very attached to NATO and the American umbrella, the Head of State also insisted on the key role of the Atlantic Alliance, which is once again more topical than ever with the war in Ukraine.
“The Alliance remains an essential framework for collective security. Current circumstances reinforce its relevance in its Euro-Atlantic vocation, particularly at a time of the American pivot towards Asia”, he said.
Incidentally, the Head of State officially announced the end of the Barkhane anti-jihadist operation in the Sahel, nine years after the arrival of French forces in Mali and three months after their departure from this country.
Exit the expeditionary army model. Make way for forces concentrated on the risk of high-intensity conflicts, involving massive deployments of men, equipment and resources.
France’s new strategy in Africa will be finalized within six months after consultations with its partners on the continent, said the Head of State. Some 3,000 French soldiers remain deployed in Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso.
– Resilience –
Among the new challenges, “influence”, which includes the fight against false information for the purposes of destabilization, will be elevated to the rank of “strategic function” in the defense of France.
“We will not be patient spectators”, witnessing the spread of narratives hostile to France, warned Emmanuel Macron, promising more offensive action in this area, “without pride, but without unwelcome inhibition”.
This RNS must serve as a basis for the next military programming law (LPM) 2024-2030, which will have to continue the budgetary effort in defense initiated in 2017. The president made no announcement in this regard.
On the other hand, he insisted on the “mobilization” of the nation, which will also go through the generalization of the Universal National Service, and the “war economy” which the country must face. A “posture of vigilance” and a necessity “in the event of a serious crisis”, he said.
“It is not a question of militarizing society but of strengthening the spirit of resilience, its moral force (..) for the defense of our sovereignty”, he insisted.
In June, the Head of State asked defense manufacturers to make an effort to produce more and more quickly, at controlled costs, to cope with the new global geopolitical deal.
“For the moment, it is a catalog of good intentions. It remains to concretize these ideas”, reacted Cédric Perrin, vice-president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and the Armed Forces of the Senate, while welcoming strong ambitions.