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Sarkozy in Lebanon: “Europe must add, not subtract”

(B2) Having come to present his wishes to the armies in Lebanon, in the midst of French soldiers engaged in UNIFIL, at the At Tiri camp, the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, reiterated his European commitment:“France is not alone, does not act alone. Current challenges call for an increasingly collective and increasingly coordinated response. For that, we need a strong, united Europe, which takes all its responsibilities.” No need to look very far (among the Czechs for example?) to know who is targeted in this statement... The Head of State was also very clear on the future of the European Defense Policy: to reassess certain cooperation projects industrial and French participation in certain external operations, to better cooperate the EU and NATO, the withdrawal of certain external operations.

Evaluate industrial projects. " Europe must add, not subtract. I no longer want European programs whose main objective for certain participants is less to meet the operational capacity needs of the armies than to acquire industrial and technological capabilities that are otherwise insufficiently mastered. (…) It's about sharing the burden better, with a single concern: the search for better cost-effectiveness. European programs must take care to give the best results and not, as in the past, to promote the preservation of centers of competence according to a logic of fair return which always gives the same result: the accumulation of delays. »

All French participation in external operations must be stopped. « I want to be certain that each soldier engaged in external operations is in accordance with the interests of our country. I must bring our soldiers home on foreign operations, if their presence does not correspond to our strategic interests. (…) The nature and volume of contribution provide the necessary diplomatic and military leverage expected to provide a solution for the rapid resolution of a crisis. » Bosnia, Kosovo but also Ivory Coast would be in the crosshairs of the Ministry of Defense.

NATO and Defense Europe, complementary. “With our European partners, we share the same vision of the necessary complementarity between European defense and NATO. It is absurd to oppose them. We need both and both will be all the stronger if France participates fully. The Atlantic Alliance is the Alliance between Europe and the United States but also an alliance of Europeans among themselves.”


Listen the speech
(photo: Ministry of Defence)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).