Macron Ready to Open Europe Nuclear Defense Debate: Vosges Matin

(Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron said he’s open to discussing nuclear weapons as part of the creation of a credible European defense.

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In an interview in the Sunday editions of several regional French newspapers, including Vosges Matin, Macron added nuclear weapons to the list of items up for debate for Europe’s defense.

The French leader had previously discussed the need for Europe to build its own defense strategy in a speech on Thursday, saying the American security umbrella was a thing of the past.

“The US has two priorities, the US first, and that’s legitimate, and then the question of China,” Macron said at Paris’s Sorbonne University. “Europe will not be a geopolitical priority for the years, the decades to come, however strong our alliance.”

Macron on Thursday said the continent may need to produce its own anti-missile shield, long-range missiles and other equipment to be able to protect itself in a more hostile geopolitical context.

In Sunday’s interview, Macron noted that France’s doctrine is that nuclear weapons can be used when the nation’s vital interests are threatened. He added that he’d already said that those interests include a “European dimension,” without offering further detail.

Read more: Macron Seeks to Allay Concerns Over Nuclear Arms Policy

The debate should include missile defense, long-range arms and nuclear weapons for those countries that have them, as well as countries that have US nuclear weapons on their soil, Macron said in the interview.

(Adds detail on French nuclear doctrine in sixth paragraph.)

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