Macron Advocates for Independent European Defense Amid Global Tensions

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.29 - 2024 10:26 AM CET

French Foreign Minister has approached German authorities with a proposal to jointly strengthen the European defense industry.

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French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejournet has approached German authorities with a proposal to jointly enhance the European defense industry, emphasizing the "shared responsibility" of both nations.

"In every stage of building European defense, France and Germany have a joint responsibility to set goals and act swiftly," Sejournet stated in an interview with the German newspaper Die Welt on Monday, April 29.

His statements echo recent declarations made by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Sejournet added that these nations have previously embarked on ambitious projects like the European recovery plan during the coronavirus pandemic.

He advocated for the standardization of weapons systems across Europe, aiming for military materials to be universally usable by all member countries.

"This would significantly strengthen the European component of NATO," Sejournet remarked, adding that while the US remains a close ally, Europe needs to develop its "sovereignty and strategic autonomy."

Macron's Vision for a Secure Europe

Speaking at Sorbonne University on April 25, President Macron emphasized the need for Europe to develop a reliable defense strategy in response to aggression from neighboring countries.

"Europe must be able to defend what it holds dear, with its allies or on its own," Macron stated.

He described the conflict in Ukraine as "the main threat to European security today," emphasizing the need for a respected and secure Europe that recognizes its borders and prepares for risks.

Macron also supported the creation of a European military academy to train future leaders in security and defense, and proposed a rapid reaction force capable of deploying up to 5,000 troops by 2025 to aid citizens in hostile environments.

Joint Development

Germany and France are advancing their joint development of the new generation MGCS (Main Ground Combat System) tank.

On April 26, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius and his French counterpart Sebastien Lecornu signed a memorandum in Paris, ensuring an equal distribution of responsibilities between the defense enterprises of both countries.

"This marks another crucial milestone," Pistorius noted, highlighting the deep partnership between Germany and France initiated by this project in 2017.

This initiative aims to create "something completely new," incorporating artificial intelligence technologies for a "clear qualitative advantage."

"By 2040, Germany and France will operate the same tank," French Defense Minister Lecornu added, noting the involvement of companies like Rheinmetall, Thales, and others. "We take a pragmatic approach and seek the best that each industry has to offer."

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