Macron announces major boost to French defence budget amid Ukraine war

Macron announces major boost to French defence budget amid Ukraine war

France will increase its military spending by over a third in coming years, President Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday, unveiling his goal to equip the French army to tackle this century's great "perils".

The budget for the period will stand at €413 billion, a significant increase from the €295 billion allotted to 2019-2025. According to this plan, by 2030, France's military budget would have doubled since he took power in 2017, Macron said.

The French leader acknowledged the end of the "peace dividend" following the Cold War, and said the planned 2024-2030 budget would adapt the military to the possibility of high-intensity conflicts, made all the more urgent by Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine.

"As war is changing, France has and will have armies ready for the perils of the century," Macron said from the Mont-de-Marsan air base in southwestern France.

"We need to be one war ahead," he added.

He further stated that France's military should pivot towards a strategy of high-intensity conflict, and that the country would invest massively in drones and military intelligence -- the Achilles heel of the country's defence, which French officials say recent conflicts have exposed.

Macron's speech came as defence ministers from NATO and other countries convened at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany amid warnings that Russia will soon re-energise its war effort, in which it has seized parts of southern and eastern Ukraine.

While France is the world's third-biggest arms exporter and the EU's sole nuclear power, it has been criticised for not sending more weapons to Kyiv. Macron, nevertheless, has provided more supplies since last summer, with national officials blaming operations in Africa and years of chronic under-investment for making it impossible to do so more immediately.

The French President did not announce new support for Ukraine, but said France had to be ready for a new era, with an accumulation of threats.

He also said France would boost its capacity to handle to cyber-attacks and would increase the budget for military intelligence by almost 60%.

Last year, France's head of military intelligence resigned just a month after Russia invaded Ukraine over what officials said was a failure to predict the invasion.

Macron also said France would keep a close eye on its military presence in overseas territories, especially in the Indo-Pacific, where new threats were emerging.