Macron will increase military resources amid the war in Ukraine and new threats

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday proposed increasing defense spending by more than a third through …

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday proposed increasing defense spending by more than a third by 2030 and “transforming” France’s nuclear military to better counter evolving threats and address consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Macron announced a proposal for 413 billion euros (almost $450 billion) in military spending between 2024 and 2030 to ensure “our freedom, our security, our prosperity, our place in the world.”

This compares with the spending of about 295 billion euros in a similar military plan for 2019-2025.

The money will be used primarily for modernization France’s nuclear arsenalincreasing intelligence spending by 60%, doubling the number of military reservists, strengthening cyber defenses, and developing more remote-controlled weapons.

“Nuclear deterrence is an element that distinguishes France from other European countries. Analyzing the war in Ukraine, we see its vital importance in a new way,” he said in a speech to the military at the Mont de Marsan air base in southwestern France. France is the only member of the 27-nation European Union with nuclear weapons, and the bloc remains heavily dependent on the US and NATO for defense.

Macron also wants to expand French submarine surveillance to a depth of 6,000 meters (almost 20,000 feet), both for military reasons and to protect critical infrastructure such as undersea cables that carry power and information across the oceans have become threatened.

Friday’s speech took place at a time when representatives of the defense departments of the United States and allies spoke meeting in Ramstein, Germany to discuss further aid to Ukraine.

Macron did not respond to Ukraine’s requests to supply French Leclerc tanks — even after the Ukrainian Defense Ministry released a demonstration video on Thursday that praised the tanks as “compact, sporty, easy to park” and quoted French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.

France has already transferred to Ukraine 18 Caesar guns, six TRF1 guns, two Crotale air defense systems, rocket launchers, anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, armored vehicles, ammunition, protective equipment, medical equipment and military rations, according to Macron. office. Earlier this month, France agreed to send AMX-10 RC armored reconnaissance and combat vehicles, called “light tanks” in French.

France also intends to train at least 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers as part of a pan-European training effort.

“What we are experiencing on European soil over the past year in Ukraine teaches us lessons,” Macron said.

“The threats are many and mixed,” he said. “There is no longer a peace dividend because of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine… The international order has shifted to a situation between countries that we have not seen for decades.”

Macron highlighted threats from hybrid warfare, cyber attacks and continued threats from terrorism, and called for an increase in the production capacity of the arms industry to be able to help Ukraine and supply the French army.

Among the lessons from the war in Ukraine, Macron’s office said the French military needed to be more reactive and ready to deploy quickly, as well as having good equipment, logistical support and ammunition.

Macron wants the military strategy of France strengthening the country’s role as an independent world power. He called for strengthening military partnerships with European neighbors, as well as with countries such as Egypt, India, the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and African countries.

The new budget must be approved by the parliament. Macron’s centrist alliance does not have a majority in either house of parliament, but military officers have long complained about cuts in military spending, and conservative and far-right parties tend to support defense investment.

France’s military budget reached 1.9% of gross domestic product in 2021, with a goal of reaching 2% by 2025, as expected by NATO.

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Bob Edme contributed to this report from Mont-de-Marsan.

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