French President Emmanuel Macron warned European Nations that they cannot remain mere spectators in the nuclear race and called for international disarmament efforts. Speaking on France’s defence and deterrence strategy in the post-Brexit era, Macron said that France has already brought down its number of warheads to under 300, giving the nation legitimacy to demand concrete moves from other nuclear powers toward global disarmament that is “gradual, credible and can be verified”.
"Europeans must realise collectively that in the absence of a legal framework, they could rapidly face a new race for conventional weapons, even nuclear weapons, on their own soil," said Macron in a live-streamed speech.
The French President laid down his plan on defence strategy saying nuclear weapons are vital for French and European security. After the formal departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, France remains the only nuclear power in the 27-member bloc. Macron said that France plans to spend €37 billion to maintain and update the remaining nuclear warheads from 2019-2025.
The 42-year-old leader asserted that long-term security in Europe is possible through a strong alliance with the United States but it is also achieved through a larger capacity for “autonomous action” in Europe. Macron’s speech comes after several deteriorating global nuclear agreements including Iran’s decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal and speed up the uranium enrichment process.
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), the Nobel peace prize winner, criticised Macron’s speech saying the French President shared his theories about nuclear weapons but refused to meet with those that know the real impact of these weapons. Referring to Hiroshima survivor Setsuko Thurlow, ICAN tweeted that the survivor reached out for a meeting with Macron in Paris next week but met with stony silence from the French President. Beatrice Fihn, Executive Director of ICAN, also lashed out at Macron saying a reduction in the nuclear arsenal is not equivalent to disarmament.
Lol. @EmmanuelMacron says France is keeping its responsibilities on nuclear disarmament by keeping its arsenal at around 300.— Beatrice Fihn (@BeaFihn) February 7, 2020
Not increasing arsenals of nuclear weapons really isn't the same thing as nuclear disarmament.
Nuclear disarmament is nuclear disarmament.