Europe

Macron promises to increase army budget as he prepares for war


French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday promised French troops a one-third to 400 billion euro increase in their seven-year budget under a forthcoming military programming law, as war returned to Europe with Russia’s nearly year-long invasion of Ukraine.

“The law of military programming reflects the country’s efforts for its armies,” Macron said in a New Year message at the southwestern airbase of Mont-de-Marsan. “These efforts will be proportional to the risks, that is to say, they will be big.”

He confirmed the allocation of 413 billion euros to French troops for the period 2024-2030, taking in extra-budgetary revenues, adding in a speech before an audience of senior officers that “we must be going to war in order to be prepared for more fierce, bigger and more problematic conflicts at the same time.”

The new law was widely anticipated after the war in Ukraine exposed loopholes in the French military and will continue the massive financial defense effort following the 2019-2025 military programming law, which amounted to 295 billion euros and put an end to years of budget cuts for the armed forces.

The military programming law, which will be devalued by inflation and a sharp rise in the cost of energy, is expected to be put to a vote in parliament by the summer.

“After reforming the armies, we will transform them.. We must do better and different,” he said, calling for “giving preference to quick action and increasing strength, because we will not choose the conflicts we will have to go through.”

The new programming code will focus on sovereignty at a time when France intends to maintain its position as a respected force and reliable partner.

France will continue its efforts to modernize the Nuclear Deterrent Force, for which payment provisions of €5.6 billion have been made for 2023. Siberian capabilities will also be “significantly enhanced” to give France a “first-class” force in this area.

“Macron announced a 60% increase in the budget for military intelligence, citing a doubling of the budgets for the Directorate of Military Intelligence and the Directorate of Intelligence and Defense Security.” Additional investment will also be made in equipment and many to overseas provinces.

The Elysee Palace declared that France must “possess reinforced sovereign forces to confront all those who seek to attack our interests,” particularly in the Asia-Pacific region where China’s expansionist ambitions raise concerns. The next budget also seeks to adapt to the risk of a major “very severe” inter-state conflict.

“It is incumbent upon all of us to carry out an internal review in the light of Ukraine,” the French presidency stressed, warning that it was out of the question to copy France’s needs in terms of capabilities on Ukraine’s needs.

“France is not Ukraine, has no security interests and no borders with Russia, we have nuclear weapons, we belong to the European Union and to NATO,” it said.

By contrast, France should be able to act within a European framework – with or without NATO participation, presumably with a 20,000-strong military force.

It is also imperative to close loopholes in the marches and “duds” such as booby-trapped drones and investments in quantity and artificial intelligence. Macron also said France will boost its air defense capabilities by 50 percent.

In keeping with Chirac’s goal of developing a “war economy,” the code of military programming provides for “optimal production cycles to meet the needs of the armed forces,” both in terms of munitions and “to respond quickly to the aspirations of a partner,” such as Ukraine, the presidency said. To bolster the country’s “moral strength,” Macron will finally double the 40,000-strong reserve force.

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