French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled his vision for modernising the military in his nuclear-armed country on Friday, saying 413 billion euros ($446 billion) would be assigned to the army in 2024-2030 – up from 295 billion euros in the previous budget.
Macron said the major spending boost was designed to ensure “our freedom, our security, our prosperity, our place in the world”, while taking into account the impact of the war in Ukraine.
The 2019-2025 defence bill was meant to start building capacities back up after chronic underinvestment in the previous decades, the French leader said.
He branded the new 2024-2030 budget a "transformation" programme to adapt the military to the possibility of high-intensity conflicts, made all the more urgent since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"France has and will have armies ready for the challenges of the century," he said in his New Year address to the army at the Mont-de-Marsan air base in southwestern France.
Macron said France had to be ready for a new era, with an accumulation of threats. He noted threats from hybrid warfare, growing cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and continued threats from terrorism.
He also called for a modernisation of France’s nuclear arsenal, saying the country’s military strategy should strengthen its role as an independent global power.
Friday's speech came as defence officials from the US and allies were meeting in Ramstein, Germany, to discuss further help for Ukraine.
France has joined its Western partners in delivering weapons to Ukraine since the start of Russia's invasion, and has recently pledged highly-mobile AMX-10 RC light tanks for Kyiv.
(FRANCE 24 with Reuters, AP)