French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday (20.1.2023) that his country’s defense budget will increase by more than a third for the period 2024-2030. The goal is to transform the Army with a clear European dimension and prepare it for “multiple” threats.
Macron, who gave a speech at the Mont-de-Marsan air base, explained that he will ask Parliament for a budget of 400,000 million euros for the next seven years, which will cover 413,000 million needs, compared to the 295,000 million foreseen in the previous military planning law for 2019-2025.
“The threats are multiple and add up”, underlined Macron, before listing various tense scenarios, such as the Eastern Mediterranean, the East China Sea and in particular the war in Ukraine, marked by “brutality”, with scenes believed to be missing from the two world wars.
Macron insisted that if the two military planning laws are taken into account, the end result is that the defense budget will “double”. “After repairing the armies, we will transform them”, Macron announced, before detailing what this evolution will consist of, which first of all envisages the strengthening of nuclear deterrence, which “is an element that makes France a different country in Europe” and the whose “vital importance” was seen with the war in Ukraine.
Dealing with cyber attacks
He anticipated funding for information and intelligence services to grow “close to 60 percent” to, among other things, be better able to resist cyberattacks. The president also showed plans to “double the operational reserve” to replenish military ranks as needed and strengthen special forces.
As for the material means, he indicated that the Rafale will become the only model in the fighter fleet, which suggests a withdrawal of the last Mirages. He also spoke of “accelerated digitization of the battlefield”; of greater capabilities in frigates; the development of the “next generation aircraft carrier”; the doubling of investments in drones or in the Future Air Combat System (FCAS) that France has launched together with Germany and Spain.
The French president insisted that his country’s military alliances “can only be contemplated within the framework of our Europe” and that France must have the ability to lead a European operation, “within NATO or outside of the alliance”, and to be able to field an own force of “up to 20,000 men”.
Macron has declared that he wants the new military planning law that his government will present, which he defined as “a project of national sovereignty that would not be coherent without its European dimension”, to be adopted by Parliament “by the summer”.