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Macron planning to shield Europe with ‘nuclear umbrella’ consisting of 300 missiles to deter Russia

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French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a “credible European defence” led by 300 French nuclear weapons in a bid to strengthen Europe against Russia.

Speaking to regional papers in France, Macron stressed the need for “anti-missile shields” and said he was open to giving French nuclear doctrine – which so far has been to only use atomic weapons in the defence of France’s vital interests – a more “European dimension”.


The premier told reporters that he was “in favour of opening debate” on forging a continental defence structure which went beyond that already offered by Nato, which follows his calls earlier this week for a more assertive EU on the world stage.

Macron said: “A credible European defence… may mean deploying anti-missile shields, but we need to be sure that they block all missiles and deter the use of nuclear weapons.

Macron’s comments follow an address last week in which he claimed there is a risk Europe “could die”

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“I’m in favour of opening this debate, which must therefore include missile defence, long-range weapons and nuclear weapons for those who have them or who have American nuclear weapons on their soil.”

But despite his call for European solidity, the president’s comments drew criticism from political opponents, both in France and in the European Parliament.

Hard-right French MEP Thierry Mariani said: “Macron is becoming a national danger… We can’t wait for June 9 [when EU elections are set to take place] to give him a clear signal that his policies are over!”

More lawmakers from the right chimed in to slate the French leader – François-Xavier Bellamy, another right-wing MEP, called his comments “exceptionally serious” and claimed “we are touching the nerve of French solidarity”.

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French M51 missile

The French nuclear stockpile – including ballistics like this M51 missile – is larger than Britain’s and the second-largest in Nato

French Armed Forces Ministry

But criticism wasn’t limited to the right – hard-left French National Assembly member Bastien Lachaud said: “The nuclear deterrent cannot be shared… Under the guise of defending European soil, Macron wants to liquidate France’s strategic autonomy.”

Macron’s comments follow an address at Paris’s Sorbonne University in which he claimed: “There is a risk our Europe could die. We are not equipped to face the risks.”

The president said France “must show that it is never a vassal of the United States and that it also knows how to talk to all the other regions of the world” in the nearly two-hour-long speech – which attracted praise from fellow European leaders.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, with whom he has often clashed on defence and trade issues, said: “France and Germany want Europe to be strong – your speech contains good ideas on how we can achieve this.”

France is estimated to harbour some 300 nuclear weapons – the largest stockpile in Western Europe, ahead of Britain’s 225, and the second-largest in Nato.

But Macron’s atomic arsenal pales in comparison to that of Russia, which sits at a staggering 5580 – the largest in the world.

Regardless, Macron has said France “is ready to contribute more to the defence of European soil”, echoing calls by German finance minister Christian Lindner for an Anglo-French “nuclear shield” to see off Russian aggression.

But experts have professed doubt over leading military powers’ nuclear capability; last month, Erik Prince, the founder of private military company Blackwater, said: “I question how ready and tuned up [Russia’s] arsenal is… I also question how ready and tuned up America’s nuclear arsenal is, and I also question how tuned up and ready Britain’s nuclear arsenal is.”

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