French President, Emmanuel Macron has urged European governments to invest “massively” in defence in order to anticipate possible threats. He has also advocated “intensifying support” for Ukraine until it can “launch a counter-offensive” to force Russia into dialogue under “credible” conditions “chosen” by Kiev.
“We are ready to step up today because the days and weeks ahead are decisive and we are prepared for a protracted conflict. I do not want it, but above all because we do not want it, we must be credible in our ability to maintain this effort,” Macron appealed at the Munich Security Conference.
Macron, using language that excludes him from future mediation with Putin, has disqualified Russia, pointing out that “it is a power of imbalance and injustice”, with a “neo-colonial and neo-imperialist” mentality, the French president asserted, and Moscow must “fail” if “we want a stable international order and lasting peace”. In that context, Macron called on Europe to “invest massively” in defence, in alliance with NATO but also on a continental level, beyond the boundaries of the European Union, which is a notable novelty.
“None of us will change the geography of Russia, the fact that it will always be on European soil, and none of us can change the fatality and our dilemma that there will be no lasting peace,” he said, until we “take charge” of the Russian question”, in search of solutions but without “naivety”.
“Today there can be no dialogue because we have a Russia that has chosen war”, Macron said, who was also very sceptical about the possibility of “regime change” in Moscow.
For the French leader, the current war is a consequence of the fact that “Russia did not digest the end of an empire” and of “post-1990 resentment”. But in general, he claimed that neither Russians nor Europeans correctly read the post-Cold War context, when they moved overnight from the Iron Curtain to a “honeymoon” phase.
Macron spoke of intensifying defence efforts at the strategic and material level, increasing Europe’s capacity to produce and innovate, but not only in traditional sectors such as armaments and aviation. He called for consideration of potential sources of destabilisation in the future, such as cybercrime and disinformation campaigns.
He also called for “taking into account” the nuclear factor, an issue that is also in the “shadows” of the war in Ukraine.
“The French deterrent has a specific role to play in Europe, as does the UK’s, in strengthening the overall security of the alliance. Of course, our allies also have an essential role to play in this respect, and I want us to reaffirm the nuclear nature of the Atlantic Alliance,” he stressed.
In his speech at the defence forum, Macron also stressed the need to reform the international order – including the UN Security Council – with more integration and North-South cooperation. “The Security Council is part of this. One permanent member simply decided to annihilate the rules it was supposed to protect, so we need to reshape it and reshape it,” he said.