French Defense Policy under President Emmanuel Macron: Major Trends

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-8-82-90
A. Chikhachev (,
Saint-Petersburg University, 7–9, Universitetskaya Nab., Saint-Petersburg, 199034, Russian Federation
Abstract. This article explores the President Emmanuel Macron’s approach to defense and security policy of France. Due to a current degradation of international environment, Macron tries to preserve French strategic autonomy and pays great attention to the armed forces agenda. The point of the article is that Emmanuel Macron’s activity in this sphere now consists of four stable trends. First, the President is prone to demonstrating a personal attitude toward military issues. Since his first days in office, Macron used various politically motivated symbols to reassert his Supreme Commander-in-Chief status, even if it could lead to a confrontation with the militaries. Second, the President seeks to update French military doctrine by the approval of new strategic documents. He already initiated the drafting of Strategic Review (2017) and Military Planning Law (2019–2025) which contained a set of policy priorities including the respect of NATO’s two-percent rule. Third, Emmanuel Macron considers overseas military operations in a comprehensive manner. According to him, any intervention should be complemented by diplomatic and development efforts to ensure peace and prosperity for a long time. The case of the “Barkhane” operation in Sahel is very typical in this respect, because there France relies not only on its own armed forces, but also on regional powers (G5 countries), European allies (Germany in particular) and international organizations (especially the UN bodies). Fourth, the government is going to support national defense industry to keep a large scale of its competences, technologies and production lines. For this reason, several means are expected to be used, such as cooperation with European partners or arms export. The conclusion is that the extension of these trends still depends on international and economic context, but Emmanuel Macron is likely to follow them right to the end of his presidency.

Keywords: France, Emmanuel Macron, defense policy, military doctrine, strategic autonomy, overseas operations, military industry, arms export


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For citation:
Chikhachev A. French Defense Policy under President Emmanuel Macron: Major Trends. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 8, pp. 82-90.

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