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France's Defence Minister suggests substantial increase in military budget amid Ukraine war

A French servicewoman, member of a Leclerc main battle tank crew.
A French servicewoman, member of a Leclerc main battle tank crew. Copyright Vadim Ghirda/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright Vadim Ghirda/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AP
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France's Defence Minister suggests a substantial military investment in cyber, space, and submarine defence systems.

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The French government on Tuesday approved a key budget bill presented as the country's biggest military spending spree in more than 50 years, underscoring the impact of the war in Ukraine.

The bill foresees €413 billion in military spending for the period covering 2024-2030 - up by more than a third relative to the previous timeframe.

Nuclear deterrence will be one of the key chapters of this budget increase, with the construction of a new-generation nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. President Emmanuel Macron's government also wants to invest in cyber, space and submarine defence.

"In any case, it is the Russian aggression in Ukraine that provokes a need for security in most of the partners of continental Europe," said France's Minister of Defence, Sebastien Lecornu.

Lecornu also pointed to the need for anti-drone technology, as well as equipment and ammunition.

The budget bill will be debated in parliament in May-June with the aim of entering into force by mid-July, Lecornu said.

Macron’s centrist alliance doesn’t have a majority in either house of parliament, but military officers have long lamented shrinking armed forces spending, while conservative and far-right parties tend to support investment in defence.

Global trend

Poland announced at the beginning of the year that it will devote 4% of its GDP to defence. This unprecedented expenditure will include massive purchases of fighter planes and tanks from the United States and South Korea, and drones from Turkey.

But, undoubtedly, the great military revolution is that of Germany, which in the heat of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, announced a $100 billion increase to its 2022 military budget to modernize its Armed Forces.

Dramatic increases in their defence spending have also been announced by the Baltic countries, Italy, the United Kingdom, and Sweden, which is waiting to join NATO after decades of neutrality. 

The trend is not only European, but worldwide, with countries including Australia, South Korea, and Japan rearming at a rapid pace in a climate of military tension and nervousness reminiscent of the Cold War.

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