Home Defence Policies Better safe than sorry: French armaments enters the war economy

Better safe than sorry: French armaments enters the war economy

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The EU’s Thierry Breton is promising that weapons contracts are coming and is urging Europe’s defense firms to prepare.

LA CHAPELLE-SAINT-URSIN, France — Across industrial plants reeking of metal, where booming machines drown out voices, French arms manufacturer Nexter hasn’t waited for the EU’s nod to ramp up production. 

With factories located in Bourges’ wider region — the country’s defense heartland since the 19th century — Nexter has been building the Caesar truck-mounted howitzers delivered to Kyiv in recent months and producing the 155-millimeter shells Ukraine needs to rapidly restock. 

But now the company has also been thrust into the heart of Europe’s arms race, as EU officials seek out manufacturers to rapidly expand their output even further and create a true “wartime economy.”

On a cold, sunny Monday morning, Nexter was the latest stop for Thierry Breton, the EU commissioner tasked with championing homegrown production. He also popped over to visit the nearby missile manufacturer MBDA. 

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