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Nuclear war warning as ‘irresponsible’ Emmanuel Macron calls for weapons



French President Emmanuel Macron has faced severe criticism from across the political spectrum after suggesting a potential debate on a common European defence strategy, including the possibility of using nuclear weapons to defend Europe.

In an interview published by Ebra group media, Macron raised the idea of France extending its nuclear deterrence to Europe, saying: “France can use its nuclear weapon when its vital interests are threatened [and] I already said that there is a European dimension to these vital interests.”

Macron proposed opening a debate on nuclear weapons, especially for countries possessing them or having US nuclear weapons on their soil.

The suggestion has sparked controversy, drawing condemnation from politicians on the right, left, and far-right.

Centre-right candidate for the EU elections, François-Xavier Bellamy, of Les Républicains, criticised Macron’s proposal, calling it “of exceptional gravity” and adding: “To go down this road is not being pro-European, because in fact, [Macron’s proposal] makes no sense.”

He stressed that France’s nuclear arsenal is a core element of its sovereignty, and the suggestion of pooling nuclear deterrence with the EU undermines this principle.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen (Rassemblement National) reacted on X (formerly Twitter), claiming that Macron’s agenda was to “dispossess the French people of everything they have built.” In March, Le Pen emphasised her commitment to maintaining France’s nuclear sovereignty, stating that nuclear deterrence should be enshrined in the Constitution to prevent any future compromises.

Thierry Mariani, a Member of the European Parliament from the same party, echoed Le Pen’s sentiment on X, suggesting that Macron’s stance posed a threat to national security and warned that France might eventually “sell off cheaply” its permanent seat at the United Nations Security Council to the EU.

On the left, Bastien Lachaud, an MP and defence specialist of La France Insoumise (The Left), said that “nuclear deterrence is not for sharing”.

The National Assembly section of LFI released an official statement emphasising that existing solidarity commitments within the EU treaties are sufficient, and no further integration is necessary regarding nuclear weapons.

In contrast, Marie Toussaint, lead EU candidate for the Greens, who supports a European federal structure, expressed a more positive view. On France 3, she supported Macron’s idea, advocating for the “sharing of the power of French weapons, including nuclear [weapons]”.

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