Statement by Le Mouvement de la Paix on military spending
In the midst of a health crisis, the French government is persisting in favour of useless and costly military expenditure to the detriment of health and environmental priorities
In the light of the Covid-19 health crisis, which has highlighted failures and risky national political choices, we could expect, according to statements by the President of the Republic acknowledging some of these failures, the announcement of an emergency plan for the public health service, the creation of jobs for hospital staff and the enhancement of their careers, but also a plan to rebuild a French industrial medical sector, in particular for all aspects of pharmacology, electronics and medical imaging to provide sufficient autonomy to ensure the health safety of people living in France.
We would also have found appropriate, in the present situation, the announcement of a plan to develop a major public energy service in order to implement an ecological transition free from the oil lobbies and multinationals more concerned with rentability than ecological security.
But the government’s priorities are not in these areas. Indeed, the government chose this period of health crisis to announce:
- the construction of a second Charles De Gaulle
type aircraft carrier, probably with nuclear propulsion, at a cost of at least
EUR 5 billion (excluding the cost of the two nuclear boilers and the fleet of
escort ships). This aircraft carrier implies a minimum operating budget of 220 million
euros per year (source: the National Assembly Defense Commission of 12 March
2019 via news magazine Capital)
- the resumption of tests of the M51 nuclear missile at the point of Penmarc’h in Brittany around the 10th of June.
These announcements are part of the guidelines of the «White Paper on Defence», which stipulates that EUR 100 billion will be spent over 15 years on the only nuclear submarine fleet renewal programme (SNLE-NG), which is as such a violation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT).
At the global level, le Mouvement de la Paix is part of the consensus emerging in public opinion for a reduction in global military spending ($1,917 billion in 2019) and for the development of global cooperation in priority areas such as health and environmental security.
Le Mouvement de la Paix believes that the government, in compliance with its commitments under Article 6 of the NPT, could have announced its willingness to act in favour of nuclear disarmament by signing the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) adopted at the United Nations in July 2017. Such a decision would constitute a strong political signal in favour of humanistic solutions to the current crisis, in favour of respect for international law concerning nuclear disarmament and at the same time would have released resources for health, medical research and for a sustainable development that is compatible with environmental protection.
It’s time for action to ensure respect of the priorities set by people in favour of life and the environment. These are priorities that, if achieved, would make it possible to make progress in building a safer world for all.
Le Mouvement de la Paix, June 3, 2020