Retired French lieutenant general slams Europe’s ‘tragic’ military capacity

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The war in Ukraine has both demonstrated and heightened the dependence of European countries on US military support, while also creating divisions in their defence strategies, notably between Germany and France. In this interview with Justine Brabant, retired French army lieutenant general Jean-Paul Perruche, who served at a senior level in NATO and as director general of the European Union military staff, offers his analysis of the challenges now facing Europe. He argues why it must build a structure to allow for common military autonomy with pragmatic plans to deal with future threats. “It’s really quite pitiful that we are incapable of doing anything, whereas we have four times the budget of the Russians,” he says. “It’s tragic.”

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Retired French army lieutenant general Jean-Paul Perruche served as deputy commander of NATO forces in Kosovo, as head of the French mission at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, SHAPE, and latterly as director general of the European Union Military Staff.