Emmanuel Macron was in Paris this morning to announce his future policies on Defence for France and Europe, the most important one being the return of obligatory military service.
As the military operation was unfolding at the Orly airport in Paris, Emmanuel Macron began his speech on Defence by honouring the efforts and professionalism of the French military forces.
On a National Level, the candidate wants to bring back a compulsory and universal military service of one month for both 18-year-old men and women. The announcement came as a surprise as it had not been brought up by the candidate when he presented his programme a few weeks ago. It concerns over 600,000 young French citizens across the country.
The military service used to be compulsory until former President Jacques Chirac decided to get rid of it in February 1996. Since then, it was replaced by a one-day programme, JDC, that all students have to go to. François Hollande also established a voluntary military service on July 1, 2015, following the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
“We need to allow our young citizens to experience a military life and to tighten the link between the army and the nation.”
The development of military industry and research is also at the heart of his project, beginning with the training of military engineers.
“The International Community entered a new historical period since 2015 and the countries need to adapt to the many issues of today”.
On an international level, Macron has made it clear that the basis of France’s international strategy for Security and Defence relies a lot on the European project for peace. However, the situation today is “fragile” and needs to be improved. As a solution, Macron suggests the creation of a permanent European headquarters to help coordinate European action and follow the several operations led by Nato and national centres. This involves creating a new dialogue with Moscow and preparing an exit from the Syrian conflict.
“Despite Brexit, the relationship with the United Kingdom on Defence needs to be preserved, and improved if possible”
Macron also announced the creation of a Centre of Planning and operations of National Security, to increase the speed of responses to terrorist attacks.
Another policy regarding terrorism is the creation of a Task Force operating 24/7 that would involve all French secret services to unite around the same objectives. His aim is to increase the productivity of the research and control and give them more autonomy to operate. The reform of French secret services is considered important as many politicians and specialists have criticised the lack of efficiency following the Charlie Hebdo attacks. They blame this on several reforms put in place by Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande. He also mentioned the possibility of the creation a “4th army” exclusively dedicated to cyber-space.
In order to reach these objectives, Emmanuel Macron wants to reach a Defence budget of 2% of GDP by 2025.