Ihe war in Ukraine marks the return of high-intensity conflicts on the European continent, with the direct intervention of a major nuclear power. Russian aggression is a challenge for the Ukrainians in the first place, but also for Europe and, as a corollary, France. It stretches supply chains, upsets alliances and reinforces the logic of blocks with the revitalization of NATO.
In this context, the 2024-2030 programming law (LPM) currently being debated in Parliament should have been an opportunity to lay down strategic guidelines, drawing lessons from the conflict itself and its consequences on the international order, and on the place and role of France. Alas, the LPM does not display a strategy that is sufficiently clear or, in any event, does not display means consistent with the displayed strategy.
Leftovers to pay
On the budgetary level, the government proposes to devote 413 billion euros to defense by 2030. This is certainly substantial. But the trajectory presented suffers from inconsistencies. Thus, it postpones until 2027, i.e. beyond the next political deadlines, most of the budgetary efforts announced. Consequence: France will not reach the 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) devoted to the defense effort before 2027, an objective that France has set itself since 2013, without ever having achieved it to date.
Finally, the government says nothing about the outstanding balances, assessed by the Court of Auditors at the end of 2022 at “20% of the budgetary effort” of this LPM. Concretely, this would mean that more than 80 billion of the 413 billion euros announced could actually be used to finance not new investments, but investments made in the past.
Beyond these considerations, we regret the lack of coherence of certain strategic choices.
While one of the challenges lies in the ability of our army to deal with high-intensity confrontations, certain so-called “melee” regiments (tanks, infantry) are dismembered in favor of a reinforcement of the so-called “support », such as cyber warfare and intelligence. Could France tomorrow engage in a high-intensity conflict with this model army, without the help and support of its allies?
Making these choices requires having a transparent debate on the dangers threatening France. It seems that the government considers that the ground combat one is not the most imminent. Therefore, why justify the financial efforts by the return of high-intensity conflicts?
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