President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that France wanted to open a strategic dialogue with its European partners about the role of French nuclear deterrence policy in European security.
The overture to Europeans chimes with Macron’s insistence that Europe should reinforce its strategic autonomy in the face of growing global threats and stop relying solely on the United States and the transatlantic alliance for its defence.
In a much-anticipated speech on French nuclear deterrence, a ritual for every French president under the Fifth Republic, Macron said that European nations who wanted to do so, could be associated with French nuclear deterrence tests.
“France’s vital interests have now taken a European dimension,” Macron told the future elite of French armed forces at Paris’ Ecole de Guerre.
The French leader, who refused to place the French nuclear deterrent under EU or NATO command, as suggested recently by a German lawmaker, also reaffirmed that Brexit would not change anything regarding France’s nuclear co-operation with Britain.
France, the European Union’s only nuclear power since Britain left the bloc, has long prided itself in its independent deterrent, built by World War Two hero Charles de Gaulle and confirmed by French presidents ever since.