Macron said the major spending boost was designed to ensure “our freedom, our security, our prosperity, our place in the world”, while taking into account the impact of the war in Ukraine.
The 2019-2025 defence bill was meant to start building capacities back up after chronic underinvestment in the previous decades, the French leader said.
He branded the new 2024-2030 budget a “transformation” programme to adapt the military to the possibility of high-intensity conflicts, made all the more urgent since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
🔴🇫🇷 “The nation must transform its armed forces […] to be ready for more brutal and numerous wars,” says Macron.
— FRANCE 24 English (@France24_en) January 20, 2023
“France has and will have armies ready for the challenges of the century,” he said in his New Year address to the army at the Mont-de-Marsan air base in southwestern France.
Macron said France had to be ready for a new era, with an accumulation of threats. He noted threats from hybrid warfare, growing cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and continued threats from terrorism.
He also called for a modernisation of France’s nuclear arsenal, saying the country’s military strategy should strengthen its role as an independent global power.
Friday’s speech came as defence officials from the US and allies were meeting in Ramstein, Germany, to discuss further help for Ukraine.
France has joined its Western partners in delivering weapons to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s invasion, and has recently pledged highly-mobile AMX-10 RC light tanks for Kyiv.