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The French like the army when it becomes European and… when it defends French interests

(BRUSSELS2) It’s a paradox. Generally, the military swears by their flag, viewing any sharing, pooling or pooling with suspicion. In the population, the trend is rather the opposite. This is the main lesson from a survey (*) carried out by Ifop to Public actors and Ernst & Young (*). Within the framework of the reform of the White Paper, the French are thus 90% in agreement with the idea of ​​intensifying collaborative efforts between European armies » (37% totally for, 53% somewhat agree). With only 2% totally against, we could almost speak of a virtual plebiscite! There is also a clear majority (79%) who want to revise the foreign intervention policy of the French army (79%) such as modernizing the army's equipment (80%) or supporting the French defense industry. (83%). We are thus in a social-Gaulian posture, revised Monnet, so to speak 🙂

From the point of view of the priorities assigned by the French to defense policy, the protection of the country's vital interests (52%) is at the top followed (at 32%) by “participation in the stability and protection of European territory with our partners”. A strong age divide runs through this European objective of French defense policy: it is only mentioned by 25% of the youngest and is rapidly increasing among adults in working life (73% among 25-34 year olds). , 69% among 35-49). But it is among those aged 60 and over that it peaks at 80%. The defense of the country's vital interests is segmented along a right – left axis: clearly in the majority on the far right (91%), it then slowly decreases to the Left Front (60%); PS, Modem and UMP supporters are on a substantially identical trajectory (70%, 71% and 78% respectively). The sending of humanitarian intervention forces abroad does not receive strong support (13%) and here too we find a marked political segmentation, but reversed compared to the previous assertion: sympathizers of the left front are clearly in favor (54%) and the curve descends slowly only for supporters of the extreme right (11%).

On the Defense budget, the French are split 50/50 on the State's ability to manage these major expenditures well: 49% believe that the public money devoted to national defense is used efficiently, a comparable proportion (51%) considers the opposite. A figure to put into perspective, however, according to Damien Philippot, director of political studies at Ifop. A study by public actors published in January on housing policy, only gave 18% of those interviewed positive. So 50% is already a good result.

Last segment of the survey, the possible recommendations of the white paper, 90% support the idea of ​​a more intense collaboration with the European armies, 79% consider that it is necessary to revise the external intervention policy of the army France and 64% want to see establishments outside France reduced and to continue to merge existing bases.

(*) Public Actors/Ernst & Young survey carried out by Ifop for the Public Policy Observatory with a sample of 1 people representative of the French population aged 008 and over, according to the quota method (sex , age, profession of the interviewee) after stratification by region and category of agglomeration. The interviews took place via self-administered online questionnaire (CAWI – Computer Assisted Web Interviewing) from February 18 to 12, 14.

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).