Macron proposes big rise in defence spending - Dispatch Weekly

January 21, 2023 - Reading time: 3 minutes

​Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, has outlined intentions to significantly strengthen his country’s armed forces in order to counter current challenges like Russia’s conflict in Ukraine.

From 2024 to 2030, the budget would rise from €295 billion to €413 billion (£360 billion), he claimed.

He instructed soldiers at the Mont-de-Marsan airbase in southwest France that France had to first maintain and resupply its military forces before transforming them.

“We need to act better and differently, we can’t keep doing the same thing with more,” he said.

Due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Western nations have increased their military spending, often dramatically.

This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the country’s robust defence sector has removed all doubt about Russia’s ability to win the war in Ukraine. According to plans released by the Kremlin, combat personnel deployed in Ukraine will increase from 1.15 million to 1.5 million.

Given that Russia had invaded Ukraine, President Macron stated on Friday that there were no longer any “peace dividends” from the conclusion of the Cold War. As a result, the goal was to reinvest in a military that would defend France’s freedom, security, prosperity, and position in the world.

A 60% increase in the military intelligence budget, as well as investments in drones, cyber-defence, and enhanced air defences, are essential components of his reforms.

He cautioned: “We need to be one fight ahead.”

The head of military intelligence, General Eric Vidaud, lost his position as a result of France’s failure to anticipate the Russian invasion in February. At the time, the head of the armed forces acknowledged that US and UK intelligence had understood the situation accurately.

With plans to provide AMX-10 RC “light combat tanks,” France has increased its military assistance to Ukraine in recent weeks, but it is believed to be lagging behind other European allies in providing Kyiv with arms.

In what was widely regarded as a failure, France concluded an eight-year anti-jihadist campaign in the Sahel region of Africa last year.

France will need to reevaluate its alliances, according to President Macron, while continuing to be a leader in Europe and a dependable Nato partner, which means strengthening its ties with Germany, the UK, Italy, and Spain.

The Russian conflict has altered European defence objectives, leading Sweden and Finland to announce significant increases in their military budgets as part of their NATO aspirations. From 2024, members of the Western military alliance will devote at least 2% of their GDP to defence.

Germany committed an additional €100 billion of its budget to the military forces in the days following the invasion in February 2022.

Under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the UK committed to raising spending to 2.5% of GDP in June.

Because of the “most severe and complicated security situation since World War Two,” as Prime Minister Kishida Fumio warned, Japan announced a substantial increase in its defence budget last month. North Korea and China were mentioned as threats.

DW Staff

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