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Macron, Scholz to unveil joint air defence plans for Europe this week - Bloomberg

The leaders of France and Germany will hold bilateral talks tomorrow. 

Macron, Scholz to unveil joint air defence plans for Europe this week - Bloomberg
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz
Photo: EPA/UPG

France and Germany are set to unveil plans this week to work more closely together to strengthen Europe's air defences, Bloomberg reports.

The initiative is one of several policy areas that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron will discuss tomorrow at the end of the French president's three-day state visit to Berlin.

Options include adding another European air defence system to complement the shorter-term European Sky Shield Initiative (ESSI), which is led by Germany. 

ESSI includes Israeli Arrow 3 and US Patriot missiles, as well as the German-made IRIS-T system. The initiative is supported by 21 countries. France, together with Italy, has developed a system known as SAMP-T, or Mamba.

Another possibility would be to join a similar project proposed by Greece and Poland this month, which has the support of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. France may also emphasise the role that its nuclear deterrent can play in Europe. According to the sources, this could be in addition to work on additional deep strike capabilities.

The sources warned that the exact details of the cooperation are still being discussed, but both countries stressed the importance of Europe demonstrating its strength and commitment to defence before the NATO Allies meet in Washington in July. France has so far refrained from supporting ESSI, arguing that an EU-based solution would be better.

"Russia's war in Ukraine has prompted the European Union to discuss ways to strengthen common defence, while also seeking to provide Kyiv with additional military supplies, including air defence. In a speech last month, Macron said that Europe can no longer simply rely on the US security umbrella and that it needs its own credible defence strategy to survive," the newspaper said. 

  • Macron has previously said that France and Germany have "historic decisions to make". He is confident that his visit will lead to "real ambitions for the defence of Ukraine, the defence and security of our Europe, building a common defence and security structure, as well as a common vision of European growth, innovation and competitiveness, which will allow us to face the challenges of artificial intelligence and climate change".
  • In an interview with The New York Times, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that 7 Patriot air defence systems and the US decision to transfer its F-16s would be a practical outcome of the NATO anniversary summit. 
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