Chirac says Europe needs its own spy satellite, free of US
Wednesday 04 December 1996
He was speaking on the second day of the annual assembly of the West European Union, the political arm of Nato in Europe, just a year after France announced its decision to rejoin most Nato structures. He was the first French president ever to address the 48-year-old organisation.
France and Germany are already co-operating on the development of a reconnaissance satellite. But Mr Chirac's proposal went further, calling for a "real European capability in space intelligence" and making it clear this was needed for "strategic autonomy".
The lack of its own satellite reconnaissance capacity makes Europe entirely dependent on the US for military operations abroad. Europe's other main deficiency is the lack of large military transport planes. Mr Chirac did not mention this, though he did appeal for the embryonic European defence agency (at present comprising France, Germany, Britain and Italy) to become "a competitive industrial and technological base".
These were two of four points Mr Chirac set out as France's programme for its presidency of the WEU which begins next January. The others were the streamlining of current armed forces co-operation in Europe - which at present includes the mainly Franco-German Eurocorps and the mainly Franco-British European Air Group - and closer co-operation in operational planning between the WEU and Nato.
The tenor of Mr Chirac's speech, with its strong emphasis on European defence autonomy, appeared to offer at least half an answer to a question widely posed when France rejoined Nato last year. Was its return an acceptance that in the post-Cold War world it needed the shelter of the Atlantic Alliance, or did it see its membership as a stage towards the creation of stronger European pillar within Nato which could eventually become an autonomous defence alliance?
Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A rewarding opportunity to work with an easy-...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company leads the market i...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Manager for Cyber Secur...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Service Desk Analyst (App...