Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a huge boost to military spending after years of advocating for cuts to the defense budget, a move that shows the president’s lack of vision, Francois Asselineau, a French political expert and former presidential candidate, told Sputnik.
Macron said last week that he wanted to raise the 2024-2030 military budget to 413 billion euros ($449 billion) from the 295 billion euros planned for 2019-2025. He said this would help prepare for this century’s challenges.
Asselineau, who ran against Macron in 2017, said an increase in military spending would afford the French army a much-needed upgrade, but he argued that Macron was simply surfing on the Ukrainian crisis without any long-term vision to guide his defense policy.
“He sails on sight and has no geopolitical vision,” the expert said.
Asselineau pointed to a 2017 dispute between Macron and the armed forces chief, Pierre de Villiers, in which the general quit to protest the president’s decision to slash military spending. He also said that the budget U-turn came “at the worst possible time,” a day after more than a million people took to the streets across France on Thursday to protest changes to the minimum retirement age.
“The day after the demonstration, Macron announces colossal sovereign expenditure! It’s pure provocation,” the expert said.
He said that the military budget would obviously be financed by borrowing and increase the debt of future French generations. He suggested that the presidency might use borrowed money to pay for military assistance for Ukraine.
“What would be outrageous is for Macron to take advantage of this ‘decision’ to arm Ukraine, to provide Kiev with more equipment and ammunition, to lengthen further a war of attrition that Ukraine cannot win,” Asselineau said.
“This sleight of hand would be outrageous. Everyone is re-arming in Europe; Germany, Poland, but notice that the peoples of Europe are never consulted on these political decisions,” he added.
He argued that defense contractors and NATO were taking advantage of the Ukrainian crisis to increase their influence.
“France has every interest in leaving NATO as I have been advocating for a long time, to ensure our strategic independence,” the expert said.
He said NATO belonged to the United States, and Germany stood closer to the US than to its neighbor France. Germany has been buying US jets and is planning to build a “European” missile defense shield together with the US and Israel.
“Germany always buys American, will never buy French and the Franco-German couple has never been a reality. Only France talks about it. Never do Germans mention the existence of such a couple… So the Franco-German friendship has simply become a fiction,” the expert concluded.