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White Paper on Defense and National Security

Published on April 30, 2013
Speech by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic (excerpts)

Paris, April 29, 2013

(…)

We must first of all ensure that we protect the French, given all the risks, all the threats that exist. We’re aware of them. There are, I shall say, traditional ones; there are, sadly, recurrent ones; and there are also new ones, which we mustn’t neglect, like the cyber-threat that strikes at the state but can also strike at businesses. And monitoring it is an important element of our sovereignty.

We also have a duty to guarantee the credibility of our nuclear weapons – an element of our deterrence strategy – and to maintain our ability to decide on external action in line with our interests, our commitments, our alliances and the international community’s decisions.

The White Paper emphasizes the determination to guarantee France’s security while paving the way for reasoned, reasonable European defence projects. In this framework, the White Paper sets out the evolution of our defence capabilities, in the light of the budget constraints we’re experiencing, which are, in the final analysis, not so new.

So I’ve taken decisions to reconcile three imperatives. The first imperative is to provide our country’s defence and security with visibility for the coming 15 years. The second imperative is to enable industry to anticipate the volume of orders and focus its research. The third imperative is the necessity for the state and the government to reconcile balance in the public accounts – which is also an element of sovereignty – with the need to maintain independence in our decisions.

If there’s a governing principle in what we’ve sought to do through the White Paper, it is to guarantee our armed forces the best possible training, procurement and intelligence. They deserve it, and we have confidence in them. Under these conditions they’ll have the effectiveness that is essential whenever our interests and those of our partners are at stake, thus enabling France to carry out her duty to the full.

The White Paper paves the way for the military estimates bill, and I intend that bill now to be swiftly prepared and presented to the nation’s elected representatives. (…)./.

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