7 Feb, 2020
French President Emmanuel Macron called for new controls to limit the proliferation of conventional and nuclear weapons and as well warned of a looming arms race
President Macron on Friday stated that the European Union faces new security challenges following Britain’s exit from the bloc.
“Europeans must realize collectively that in the absence of a legal framework, they could rapidly face a new race for conventional weapons, even nuclear weapons, on their own soil,” Macron said. He stressed that Europeans “cannot remain spectators” in the face of such threats and urged leaders to create an “international arms control agenda.”
Noting that France had already reduced its number of nuclear warheads to under 300, he argued that his country has the “legitimacy to demand concrete moves” from other nuclear powers to ensure non-proliferation.
However, France has also earmarked 37 billion euros ($41 billion) to be spent on the maintaining and modernizing its nuclear arsenal from 2019 to 2025.
Washington’s decision last year to unilaterally withdraw from the 1987 INF treaty with Russia which prohibited the use of long-range ballistic and cruise missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads caused the threat of a new arms race to increased. Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that the discarding of the key arms control agreement will trigger “an unrestrained arms race.” The US also threatened to pull out from the New START, a nuclear arms reduction treaty. However, the Trump administration has signalled its openness to arms control negotiations with Moscow recently.