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France in search for a debate on Nuclear Arms

25.1.2013

I had a great honor to speak today in the French Parliament on nuclear weapons and nuclear non- proliferation. France is, finally, looking for a debate on nulear deterrence.

A country, launching a military intervention in Mali, is finding that nuclear weapons are not helpful when fighting terrorists in the desert.

I have often raised the issue with my green collegues in the European Parliament. Why is there no debate in France on nuclear weapons and a Europe without nuclear weapons? The answer has aleays been: It is a non-issue, difficult to take up, the weapons guarentee French independence etc. Conclusion: no debate. Now my green colleagues in the French parliament have taken the lead, and are starting a debate.

The nuclear weapons cost 3,5 billion a year, amounting to 10 per cent of the defence budget. 'Not an economic issue', claims the first speaker. Philippe Wodka- Gallien, a defense analyst. He even states that nuclear is part of the French DNA. The nuclear weapon is a French patent, by Joliot-Curie.

'Do we want to be a country that can intervene in any part of the world, that can participate in all kinds of conflicts and provides for the peaple of France some kind of serenity in everyday life', Wodka-Gallien asked.

He was countered by a strategist Alain Joxe who asked: 'Why do we need a genocide, without a strategy? Nuclear weapons are obsolete. The Russians are against our intervention in Mali, but they are not sending a nuclear weapon'.

The nuclear weapons helped to build up the autonomy and self-reliance of France. But we have to ask: 'Yes, but what about today?' France needs a debate, and so does the rest of the world.

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