France believes that an increase in the NATO budget and a plan to give the alliance more flexibility in dealing with military threats, climate change, and the rise of China, which is worth $20 billion, could undermine its defense priorities.
This is reported by Reuters.
It all started when, back in February, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg suggested that allied countries should not rely on the current system, which each government pays for its own military operations, but invest more money in existing shared budgets.
The proposal aims to heed French President Emmanuel Macron’s 2019 warning that NATO is ” brain dead.” According to him, the alliance, created in 1949 to contain the military threat from the Soviet Union, lacked a clear political strategy in a multipolar world after the end of the Cold War.
Thus, within 10 years, France should invest $20 billion in the total budget.
How did France react?
“If the idea is to dramatically increase the contribution of countries to the overall budgets and change the philosophy of NATO, moving from national responsibility to the weakening of responsibility, then the French response will be unequivocally negative,” said a source in the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.
French diplomats say the idea is unlikely to benefit French military priorities and risks diverting attention and resources from building weak defense capabilities among European Union member states.
At the same time, Paris is open to negotiations, and France is now fulfilling the NATO target of spending 2% of its economic output on defense. And Stoltenberg met with Macron in Paris on May 21, and praised the French president for “significant investments in defense.”
What do other NATO member countries say?
“Some Europeans ask: are we creating NATO or are we building up the EU’s defense capabilities in addition to NATO? Each euro can only be spent once, ” said a senior NATO diplomat.
Stoltenberg said that the allied countries can invest in upgrading bases to adapt to climate change, protect telecommunications and computer networks from cyberattacks and in space.
“If we want to do more, we also need more resources,” he said.