Terrorism: does France have the means to wage war against Daesh?

So far France was fighting with a ball on the ground – the Maastricht Treaty – against terrorism. After the terrorist attack on Friday, European countries say they are ready to help France.

How can France wage war against such determined terrorists with a financial burden – the Maastricht Treaty – which constrains it in budgetary terms and prevents it from fully ensuring the security of the French and its full sovereignty? However, the European Commission could soon show France’s flexibility with regard to the deficit to take into account the increase in security spending after the Paris attacks, said the European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs, Pierre Moscovici, on Tuesday.

This debate – stability pact or security pact – the French are entitled to it. Because they have just paid very dearly the price of blood (132 deaths according to a still provisional balance sheet), France having chosen to make war on international terrorism in Mali, Iraq and Syria in particular. Unlike many other European countries. But the war has a price. For 2015, the additional cost of external operations was expected to amount to 1.2 billion euros and that of domestic operations to 180 million. Estimates that did not take into account the attacks of Friday 13 November.

“The security pact outweighs the stability pact”
In this particular context, François Hollande announced on Monday in Congress an increase in spending related to security by declaring that “the security pact outweighs the stability pact” … The French president also issued a solemn appeal to other European countries, invoking for the first time in the history of the Union a “solidarity clause” of the Treaties, Article 47.2 which has never been used before. It was only time. Because all military officials have very early – well before the attacks in January, including the satirical newspaper Charlie Heddo – warned that the war against Daesh would be long and hard … So expensive.

At the end of 2014, the army chief of staff, General Jean-Pierre Bosser, said that “the adversary is no longer just at the gates of Europe, he has crossed the threshold “. But, in the face of this maximum urgency, some big countries have continued to hide their faces so far, playing the Maastricht criteria again and again. Friday, November 13, France paid the price, the price of blood. And so far the Maastricht Treaty has prevailed over the security of the French and the Europeans?

Europe ready to help France
To help France, Europe has three solutions: either the European countries agree to share the price of this war with France, or it withdraws some defense expenditure from the Maastrichtian perimeter, or even simpler, the Maastricht criteria are at least frozen, if not abolished, to face the state of emergency against Daesh. Because the defense budget remains very constrained despite a new budget effort last spring during the revision of the Military Program Law (LPM).

Four days after the attacks in Paris, the European Union wanted to demonstrate its solidarity with France, by providing “unanimous” support for its request for military assistance, and by letting it see some benevolence in the face of new slippages. budget. “Today, the EU by the voice of all Member States, has unanimously expressed its strongest support” to France, said Tuesday the head of European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, after a meeting of ministers of the Defense of the 28 in Brussels. This “unanimous support” is “a political act of great magnitude”, welcomed the Minister of Defense, Jean-Yves Le Drian.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who attended the ministerial meeting, said that France had not “asked for Article 5” of the Atlantic Alliance. a joint response in case of attack of one of its members. “But many NATO Allies have offered support and help to France”, including information sharing, he said.

What help?
This support “will enable us now, in the coming hours, to have the necessary (meetings) bilateral” of France with each of the EU Member States, to establish precisely the help that everyone is ready to provide concretely said the minister. Because France “can not be everywhere at once,” insisted Tuesday from Brussels Jean-Yves Le Drian. Paris does not ask for military assistance from other countries on its territory, but wants more help against ISIS in Syria and Iraq and “share the military burden” in other theaters of intervention. underlined his entourage.

Contributions from other states “may take the form of transport aircraft, supplies, armaments” given the intensification of operations in Syria, it was said. Paris had also appealed for European solidarity in another area, this time budget. He was welcomed Tuesday in Brussels, but he did not issue a blank check. Because the European budget commitments of France “will necessarily be exceeded, we must assume it and Europe must understand it,” said Tuesday French Prime Minister Manuel Valls.

The return to less than 3% of public deficit is moving away
For France, it is no longer a question of focusing on the objective of a return to less than 3% of the public deficit in 2017. Especially since François Hollande announced the forthcoming creation of 8,500 positions in the defense forces. order and justice and canceled some 9,200 planned military postings between 2017 and 2019. New spending is also planned to reinforce the concrete means of the police (vehicles, weapons …), after the unprecedented attacks that killed 129 people Friday in Paris.

It is “too early to say now how it will translate into France’s budget trajectory,” French Economic Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said Tuesday, but “we understand what is the priority for security. “. The Stability Pact is “neither rigid nor stupid”, he said.

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