France would not be prepared for a high-intensity war as the government’s defence budget is currently insufficient, Pierre de Villiers, the former Chief of Staff of the French Army, told Le Parisien in an interview published Tuesday.
France will allocate a record €43.9 billion to defence in the 2023 budget – an additional €3 billion or a 7% increase compared to this years.
But according to de Villiers, it is necessary to go “well beyond that” and this “as a matter of urgency”.
Today, the French army, which currently faces a modernisation challenge, does “not have today the means for a high-intensity war”, he said, noting that the Ukraine war “must force us to readapt our model.”
The objective is no longer to simply prepare for war operations, “which we have been doing for decades,” as the French army must also be able to “win a war”.
This requires being able to hold out over time and take into account “the harshness of war,” the ex-Army chief added.
De Villiers left his position as Army Chief of Staff in 2017, shortly after President Emmanuel Macron was elected for his first term. An insufficient budget for the Armed Forces was among the reasons he cited.
(Davide Basso | EURACTIV.fr)