SATORY ARMY BASE, France — Nations in Europe need to forge a more coordinated force across the continent, with each ready to step up to play a leadership role during conflict, said the French joint chief of staff.
“The future of the defense of nations on the continent cannot be considered outside the European framework,” Army Gen. François Lecointre told the Summer Defense University, a two-day gathering of senior officers, parliamentarians and industry chiefs.
“In the context of doubt over multilateralism, greater fragility of alliances and America’s refocus of attention to the Indo-Pacific region, the European continent must confront — increasingly on its own — all kinds of threats: might, terrorism, hybrid, cyber and migration,” he said.
That use of the term “might” referred to unspecified nations perceived to pose a threat to Western allies.
That calls for a common vision in strategy and capability, with a country ready to take the role of a “leader nation,” he said. The aim is to build a “European strategic autonomy,” he added.
The French armed forces minister, Florence Parly, came to the army base, just outside Versailles, west of the capital, and watched a dynamic display staged by the Army. The service fielded a Jaguar combat and reconnaissance vehicle, a VBCI infantry fighting vehicle carrying a squad of troops, a robotic vehicle carrying a wounded soldier, and a Leclerc main battle tank carried by a tank transport.
France invites foreign officers and political leaders to the high-level annual gathering, organized by CEIS, a think tank and consultancy.