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Macron proposes source of funding for EU and Ukrainian defense

Macron proposes source of funding for EU and Ukrainian defense French President Emmanuel Macron (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

French President Emmanuel Macron has endorsed the issuance of joint European bonds to finance priority tasks, including defense and technology, aiming to ensure the preservation of Europe's sovereignty amid increasing competition from China and the United States, citing Bloomberg.

"We need more public investment in Europe, so we should open a second phase of reinvestment as we did during the Covid crisis, and maybe daring again to have Eurobonds for prioritie," Macron said during his address at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

As examples of such priorities, he mentioned Estonia's proposals for Eurobonds in the defense industry and Ukraine. Last year, Estonia proposed the idea of bonds to fund defense expenditures. Charles Michel, President of the European Council, raised the concept of defense bonds in November, saying it was in our "common interest."

In 2020, the EU agreed to create a massive Covid recovery fund financed through debt amounting to 724 billion euros. Supporters argued at the time that such a measure would be a one-time occurrence. Talks about a new program emphasize the substantial spending needed, according to Macron and others, to preserve the competitiveness of the EU.

The EU is also actively working to strengthen the defense sector and increase arms production, especially as the war between Russia and Ukraine persists, and questions arise (especially on the eve of the U.S. elections in November) about how long the U.S. will continue to assist Kyiv.

Macron highlighted areas where Europe needs to increase investments, including artificial intelligence, microchips, space, and defense.

"I think 2024-2025 will be the years where European countries and the EU as an entity will be in a situation to decide if we want to be sovereign or not," he said.

He added that Europe needs to create a single capital market to stimulate private investments. After years of inertia in negotiations, Macron stated that he is willing to make a deal with a smaller group of countries if the entire EU cannot move forward.

France plans to sign a security agreement with Ukraine, similar to the one the United Kingdom has already done. Work on the document is nearing completion, and President Emmanuel Macron's visit to Ukraine for the signing of the security agreement is scheduled for February.