Re-evaluated French defence posture under the President Macron

Such extensive use of France’s Armed Forces in current operations has brought into question their ability to respond to new crises or emerging threats.

French Ministry of Defence building – known as the Hexagone Balard – angular metal panels flank the main entrance like the wings of a giant origami butterfly.

French defence posture under the President Macron experienced abrupt changes after he appointed a Commission tasked to draft a new White Paper on French defence. This rapidity explained merely by the massive engagement of the French troops to current missions both abroad and at home.

Some 30000 French soldiers are permanently deployed on missions ranging from Operation “Barkhane” in Mali and the NATO-led reassurance mission on the Alliance’s eastern flank to Operation “Sentinelle,” carried out on France’s national territory and aimed at protecting vital state institutions from terrorism.

Such extensive use of France’s Armed Forces in current operations has brought into question their ability of French defence to respond to new crises or emerging threats. For instance, in September France’s Chief of the General Staff,

François Lecointre, underlined that the ability of the French army to carry out an operation on short notice, similar to one already in place in Mali, is under question. Click to Tweet
This reality is forcing the authorities to reevaluate the country’s defence policy.

The new White Paper on defence titled the Strategic Review (Revue stratégique) and published on October 13, reevaluated the threats that France is facing and proposes new approaches to navigate the French Republic’s defence policy and forces in the unstable and unpredictable multipolar environment that has been replacing the Post-Cold War order.

The Strategic Review will also serve as the basis for a new law on military programming for 2019-2025, which is expected to increase the military expenditures… Click to Tweet

This increase would bring France closer to the NATO defence spending criteria of 2% of GDP spent, but to fully meet that standard, France would have to spend €50 bn per year instead of the €32 bn that is currently allocated.

Even with additional €1,7 bn yearly through 2025, the more significant figure seems a bit distant.

In addressing security threats, the document recognizes that the security climate has deteriorated much quicker than it had foreseen in the previous version, which published in 2013 under… Click to Tweet

Terrorism defined as a principal and immediate threat to the French state; this is not surprising given recent events, including the terrorist attack of November 13, 2015, which shook the French nation. The Strategic Review also recognizes that the return of coercion by demonstration of force and even the potential for open war in Europe constitutes a significant threat for Paris as well.

Russia is mentioned only 13 times in the Review, but that country is considered to be a threat – if not directly to France, then to the world order. Click to Tweet

Moscow has challenged the EU and NATO and actively blocks the activity of international institutions, including the UN and the OSCE while promoting alternative regional projects such as the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Regarding the Middle East, the Strategic Review sees Russia, Iran, and Turkey as the dominant forces that are shaping the future of the region.

The Strategic Review outlines two main ambitions for France, in its role as a UN Security Council permanent member and a nuclear powerhouse: first is to preserve strategic autonomy; second is to build a more powerful Europe.

Maintenance and upgrade of its nuclear weapons are of paramount importance for Paris. Nuclear deterrence gives France strategic autonomy that is a crucial issue for Paris per se since it allows France to continue making independent decisions regarding the protection of its national interests.

Speaking of the Euro-Atlantic space, the Strategic Review recognizes the importance of NATO and seeks to strengthen the European security.

The recent establishment of the Permanent Structured Cooperation in Defence (PESCO) by 23 EU member-states goes in line with France’s vision. Click to Tweet

Moreover, Paris confirms its commitment to further undertake all responsibilities within NATO, including the collective defence clause of the Washington Treaty as well as reassurance measures and the strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank. It is worth noting that earlier this year France sent a contingent of around 306 soldiers, Leclerc battle tanks and IVFs to Estonia.

We can expect France to be more open to cooperation in defence matters with the EU and NATO partners. For instance, such collaboration will extend to strategic airlift and, more broadly, logistics and defence industry cooperation, as well as joint military operations. However, much of such cooperation is likely to be concentrated with the countries bordering France.

You might be interested in: Georgia – A New Cornerstone in Transatlantic Relations

Did you like this?
Tip Denys Kolesnyk with Cryptocurrency

Donate Bitcoin to Denys Kolesnyk

Scan to Donate Bitcoin to Denys Kolesnyk
Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some bitcoin:

Donate Bitcoin Cash to Denys Kolesnyk

Scan to Donate Bitcoin Cash to Denys Kolesnyk
Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send bitcoin:

Donate Ethereum to Denys Kolesnyk

Scan to Donate Ethereum to Denys Kolesnyk
Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Ether:

Donate Litecoin to Denys Kolesnyk

Scan to Donate Litecoin to Denys Kolesnyk
Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Litecoin:

Donate Monero to Denys Kolesnyk

Scan to Donate Monero to Denys Kolesnyk
Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some Monero:

Donate ZCash to Denys Kolesnyk

Scan to Donate ZCash to Denys Kolesnyk
Scan the QR code or copy the address below into your wallet to send some ZCash:

Author

  • Denys is a political analyst specializing in defense & security issues and covers the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as well as Russia. He also follows closely the developments in France. His articles have been published in different languages by the German magazine European Security & Defense, the Middle East Eye or the Ukrainian website Evropeyska Pravda. He holds M.A. in International Relations from the Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas.

Comments
Loading...

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. AcceptRead More

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive latest publications, commentary, policy briefs, opinion papers, news & events to your email inbox.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

X

Send this to a friend