European defense: France wants the creation of a common “rapid reaction force” from 2025, confirms Sébastien Lecornu

“This is a key subject (…) on which I hope we can reach a conclusion next year, being very responsive and very rapid,” confirmed the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, Friday April 26, during an interview on France 2, about the creation of a European “rapid reaction force”, mentioned the day before by Emmanuel Macron in his speech on Europe at the Sorbonne

European defense: France wants the creation of a common “rapid reaction force” from 2025, confirms Sébastien Lecornu

“This is a key subject (…) on which I hope we can reach a conclusion next year, being very responsive and very rapid,” confirmed the French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, Friday April 26, during an interview on France 2, about the creation of a European “rapid reaction force”, mentioned the day before by Emmanuel Macron in his speech on Europe at the Sorbonne.

“We need to set up a rapid reaction force to be able to quickly deploy up to 5,000 soldiers in hostile environments by 2025, in particular to come to the aid of our nationals,” the French president declared on Thursday . This “rapid reaction force” would thus be intended for operations such as evacuations of European nationals in countries in crisis.

There are “many crises over which NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] is not competent and over which France often carries out operations alone,” explained Mr. Lecornu on Friday. “We must be able (…) to very quickly set up [this force] to provide security for European nationals, Portuguese, Italian, German and French citizens,” he said.

Building a “credible European defense”

There are “missions which are militarized, but [which] NATO does not have to know about for many reasons, and about which we say today “let’s do it in Europe”, and that, for us , it’s pragmatism,” according to him.

The minister cited the example of the evacuation of nationals in Sudan last year. “France [was] practically alone” in carrying out this operation in Khartoum which made it possible to evacuate “1,000 people, [including] 200 French or 250 from memory”, during which “a major airlift with A400Ms” was carried out. notably been put in place. It is natural that this burden, which “has price, value”, is shared, added Mr. Lecornu.

The French president detailed, on Thursday, his vision of Europe for the years to come during a speech at the Sorbonne, mainly discussing the areas of defense and economic and commercial policies, after taking stock of the European Union since 2017.

“Our Europe today is deadly. She can die, and it only depends on our choices,” Macron said. “Over the next decade, (…) there is an immense risk of being weakened,” he added, also considering that the values ​​of “liberal democracy” are “increasingly criticized and contested ".

In terms of defense, he said he wanted to create a “powerful Europe”, which “enforces its respect”, “ensures its security” and regains “its strategic autonomy”. He notably invited the Twenty-Seven to build a “credible European defense” which will “perhaps” include a European anti-missile shield, and would involve a “European loan” in order to finance the defense effort with a “European preference in the purchase of military equipment”.