Emmanuel Macron ready to “open the debate” on a European defense including nuclear weapons

The French president said he was ready to "open the debate" on a European defense which would also include nuclear weapons, in an interview with young Europeans published on Saturday April 27 by the Ebra group's newspapers

Emmanuel Macron ready to “open the debate” on a European defense including nuclear weapons

The French president said he was ready to "open the debate" on a European defense which would also include nuclear weapons, in an interview with young Europeans published on Saturday April 27 by the Ebra group's newspapers.

“I am in favor of opening this debate which must therefore include anti-missile defense, long-range weapon firing, nuclear weapons for those who have them or who have American nuclear weapons on their soil. Let’s put everything on the table and look at what truly protects us in a credible way,” declared the Head of State, adding that France would keep “its specificity but is ready to contribute more to the defense of European soil.”

Since Brexit and Great Britain's exit from the European Union, France is the only one of its member states to have nuclear deterrence.

During his speech on Europe on Thursday at the Sorbonne, the French president pleaded for a “powerful Europe”, affirming that “nuclear deterrence is, in fact, at the heart of French defense strategy. It is therefore in essence an essential element in the defense of the European continent.” Inviting its European partners to deduce from the strategy in the near future, “the relevant capabilities: anti-missiles, deep firing, like all useful capabilities”. At the Sorbonne, Emmanuel Macron thus pleaded for the creation of a “credible” defense Europe alongside NATO and facing Russia, which has become much more threatening since its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

“This may mean deploying anti-missile shields, but we must be sure that they block all missiles and deter the use of nuclear power,” Macron explained in his interview published Saturday by eastern newspapers. France. This was made on Friday during a visit to Strasbourg.

Debate on European autonomy in defense matters

“Being credible also means having long-range missiles that would deter the Russians. And there is nuclear weapons: French doctrine is that we can use them when our vital interests are threatened. I have already said that there is a European dimension to these vital interests, without detailing them because this deterrence contributes to the credibility of European defense,” he clarified.

The construction of a defense Europe has for a very long time been an objective of France which has often encountered reluctance from its partners who considered the NATO umbrella more secure. But the invasion of Ukraine and the possible return to the White House of Donald Trump are relaunching the debate on European autonomy in defense matters.