France, the EU’s sole nuclear power since Britain’s exit from the bloc, was to unveil how it intends to use its atomic arsenal as a deterrent.
French President Emmanuel Macron, in an address to military officers graduating in Paris yesterday, was expected to recommit to upgrading France’s capacity, at a time when NATO allies, who would ordinarily look to the US in a nuclear standoff, worry about Washington’s retreat from the multilateral stage.
On Monday, Macron said that his speech would address the interests of other European countries.
“I will focus on the doctrine [of French deterrence], but also on the procedures and modalities that I wish to propose on this topic to our partners in the coming months,” he said on a visit to Warsaw.
Deterrence theory postulates that countries with nuclear weapons are less likely to attack each other for fear of mutual destruction, meaning the arms serve as guarantors of peace.
France considers nuclear deterrence a keystone of its defense strategy and the ultimate guarantee of its most vital interests.
Macron has already agreed to a costly modernization of France’s atomic arsenal, saying in January 2018 that “deterrence is part of our history, part of our defense strategy, and will remain so.”
An act of parliament provides for about 37 billion euros (US$41 billion) to be spent on the maintenance and modernization of the French nuclear arsenal from 2019 to 2025 — about 12.5 percent of the total defense budget for those seven years.
Macron’s address comes after Russia and the US last year withdrew from the Soviet-era Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty.
Macron in December last year said that the treaty’s end meant that “France, Germany, and other European countries are now threatened by new Russian missiles.”
Washington has also since threatened not to renew the New START treaty with Russia, the last key nuclear deal between the former Cold War foes.
The treaty, which expires this month, obliged both sides to halve their number of strategic nuclear missile launchers and establish a new verification regime.
Corentin Brustlein, research director at the Paris-based French Institute of International Relations, said that Europe has always been a strong focus of France’s nuclear vision.
There had been several French attempts at dialogue with European partners on the topic “that have never succeeded,” Brustlein said.
However, “the balance is shifting, including in countries such as Germany” where public opinion is deeply anti-nuclear and the subject remains largely taboo, but “where we see emerging positions on the level of European strategic ambition that must grow,” he said.
On Monday, a senior member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union pleaded for the EU to create its own nuclear deterrence capability.
Germany should “consider cooperation with France regarding nuclear weapons” and “should be prepared to participate in the nuclear deterrent force with its own capabilities and means,” Johann Wadephul said in an interview with the Tagesspiegel daily.
FRENCH AID: Paris has sent a navy ship and aircraft from Reunion Island with some pollution control equipment, but rough seas are spreading the oil spill The operator of a Japanese bulk carrier which ran aground off Mauritius in the Indian Ocean yesterday apologized for a major oil spill, which officials and environmentalists say is creating an ecological disaster, as police prepared to board the ship. The MV Wakashio, operated by Mitsui OSK Lines, struck the reef on Mauritius’ southeast coast on July 25. “We apologize profusely and deeply for the great trouble we have caused,” Mitsui OSK Lines executive vice president Akihiko Ono said at a news conference in Tokyo. The company would “do everything in their power to resolve the issue,” he said. At least 1,000 tonnes of
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies