President Emmanuel Macron promised to boost French defence spending through 2030 so as to adjust to global threats and learn lessons from last year’s Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The French president said the military budget for 2024 to 2030 would be €400bn, if parliament approved, up from €295bn from 2019 to 2025.
“The new conflicts of our century will not be of our choosing,” Macron said in a new year speech on Friday at the Mont-de-Marsan air force base in south-west France. “There is no more peace dividend because of the aggression of Russia against Ukraine.”
After years of containing military spending, nuclear-armed France began to increase the defence budget in 2017 under the leadership of then newly elected Macron. Those funds aimed to “reinvest and repair our armies”, he said on Friday, but more remained to be done.
“We must ensure the country is ready for the next war, not simply the most recent one,” he said.
As a member of Nato, France should spend around 2 per cent of its gross domestic product on defence.
But the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February has raised questions among French officials on whether the military could face the challenge of such a high-intensity conflict given its limited stocks of equipment and munitions.