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White Paper on Defense and National Security

Publié le February 27, 2008
Communiqué from the Presidency of the Republic
Paris, January 3, 2008

On Thursday, 3 January, in the presence of the Prime Minister and principal ministers concerned, President Sarkozy had a meeting with M. Jean-Claude Mallet, Chairman of the Commission for the White Paper on Defence and National Security, accompanied by the chairmen of the Commission’s working groups, who presented him with a progress report on the discussions and work under way since last August.

President Sarkozy noted the diversity and substantive nature of the consultations set in train by the Commission, in line with the concern for transparency and pluralism he had expressed at the Commission’s first session on 23 August.

After the 1994 White Paper, taking stock of the changes brought by the end of the Cold War, the 2008 White Paper will take globalization on board.

President Sarkozy ratified the Commission’s proposed initiative to define a global national security doctrine, which will allow us both to ensure the security of the French and shoulder our international responsibilities. To this end, he has opted for organizing national security around five major strategic functions: knowledge and anticipation, including intelligence; deterrence; protection; prevention and intervention.

President Sarkozy approved the Commission’s proposal to seek to strengthen the European Union’s policies on security, defence, industry and research and at the same time remodel the transatlantic link.

In his view, these two objectives complement each other within the nation’s security and defence policy.

As regards the armed forces, President Sarkozy renewed a triple commitment: to provide the armed forces with modernized equipment tailored to their missions, undertake a specific effort to ensure the equipment is maintained at the highest level, and recognize the special nature of the commitment made by the military and their families. In this respect, he reiterated the goal of maintaining the nation’s defence spending at around 2% of GDP. He made it clear that, given the overall guidelines set for national finances, these goals will be achieved at the end of a process of reform and exemplary rationalization.

President Sarkozy noted, with the Commission, the need to modernize and strengthen the country’s administrative machinery and coordination of civilian and military resources with the armed forces’ capabilities and security resources in order to cope with the risks and large-scale crises which could affect the life of the country.

As the Commission proposed, he has decided to create a Defence and National Security Council, backed up by an advisory council whose members will be appointed by the Head of State.

The Commission’s work must be taken further with a view to submission of the White Paper to President Sarkozy in early spring 2008 and, before the summer, preparation of the legislation, particularly in the military and security field, required to implement it.

In accordance with President Sarkozy’s commitments on strengthening the role of Parliament, the Head of State agreed to two innovatory proposals put forward by the Commission:

- the draft White Paper will be presented to the relevant Senate and National Assembly Committees before the Head of State takes his final decisions.

- once the text has been finalized, the Prime Minister will present its main guidelines to the Senate and the National Assembly.

President Sarkozy has requested that further situation updates be arranged between now and early spring./.

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