Macron Ready to ‘Open Debate’ on Nuclear European Defense

French President Emmanuel Macron is ready to “open the debate” about the role of nuclear weapons in a common European defense, he said in an interview published Saturday.

It was just the latest in a series of speeches in recent months in which he has stressed the need for a European-led defense strategy.

“I am ready to open this debate which must include anti-missile defence, long-range capabilities, and nuclear weapons for those who have them or who host American nuclear armaments,” the French president said in an interview with regional press group EBRA.

“Let us put it all on the table and see what really protects us in a credible manner,” he added.

France will “maintain its specificity but is ready to contribute more to the defence of Europe.”

The interview was carried out Friday during a visit to Strasbourg.

Following Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, France is the only member of the bloc to possess its own nuclear weapons.

In a speech Thursday to students at Paris’ Sorbonne University, Macron warned that Europe faced an existential threat from Russian aggression.

He called on the continent to adopt a “credible” defense strategy less dependent on the United States.

“Being credible is also having long-range missiles to dissuade the Russians.

“And then there are nuclear weapons: France’s doctrine is that we can use them when our vital interests are threatened,” he added.

“I have already said there is a European dimension to these vital interests.”

Constructing a common European defense policy has long been a French objective, but it has faced opposition from other EU countries who consider NATO’s protection to be more reliable.

However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the possible return of the isolationist Donald Trump as US president has given new life to calls for greater European defense autonomy.

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