France renews its offer to talk to the EU about nuclear weapons

FFrance renews its offer to the rest of the European Union to start a dialogue on nuclear deterrence. State Secretary for European Affairs Clément Beaune, a close advisor to President Emmanuel Macron, said in Berlin: “This proposal by President Macron is still on the table”. He added: “We believe the French nuclear deterrent is a way of protecting European interests.”

Konrad Schuller

Political correspondent for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung in Berlin.

The debate that Macron had started in 2020 must “still be conducted”. However, that will probably not happen before the French presidential elections in the spring. Beaune added that the subject was “so sensitive and complex that everyone is very careful”. In the offer of the President at the time, it was about the “connection between our nuclear deterrence and European interests”. “It wasn’t about sharing the deterrent, that was clear”.

Strategic dialogue

After Britain’s exit, France is the only remaining nuclear power in the EU. Macron presented its offer to the other member states in a speech on the French defense and deterrence strategy on February 7, 2020. At that time, he invited the partners to a “strategic dialogue on the role of nuclear deterrence for our common security” and offered to take part in French nuclear combat exercises. France’s military affairs also had a European aspect. However, his country reserves the right to remain independent when deciding on its nuclear potential.

Beaune now said in Berlin that also because the Covid pandemic began shortly after this speech, the discussion about the President’s proposals had not really progressed at the time. At that time, “the German government’s appetite for this discussion was rather limited”.

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