French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday that he hoped Europeans would propose “an international agenda on arms control together” in the context of a reappraisal of existing treaties concluded by the United States and Russia.
“France will mobilise the European partners who are most concerned in order to lay the foundations for a common international strategy that we can propose in all areas in which Europe has an interest,” the head of state declared during a much-awaited speech on defence strategy and the French nuclear deterrent.
During the speech, he emphasised that Paris had reduced the size of its arsenal to fewer than 300 nuclear warheads.
The Europeans cannot “confine themselves to a spectator role” in the face of a nuclear arms race in which the Old Continent again risks becoming the theatre of operations, he emphasised.
For Macron, “the Europeans must collectively recognise that in the absence of a legal framework, they could rapidly find themselves vulnerable to the resumption of a conventional, if not nuclear arms race on their own ground. They cannot confine themselves to a spectator role.”
“France is convinced that Europe’s long-term security involves a strong alliance with the United States,” he said, two months after a summit held by the Atlantic Alliance. “But our security also inevitably involves a greater capacity for Europe to take autonomous action.”
Macron called for Europeans to be involved in future negotiations on intermediate-range nuclear weapons and “signatories” to an agreement. “Let us be clear: if negotiations and a broader treaty (are) possible, that is what we want (…) The Europeans must be participants in and signatories to the next treaty because our home soil is concerned” and threatened, he declared.