On board the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle (AFP)

"The reconquest of our economic sovereignty and our competitiveness begins on the seas and the oceans", declared Prime Minister Jean Castex on Saturday morning, aboard the aircraft carrier Charles-de-Gaulle, off Toulon (Var) .

Accompanied by the Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly, the head of government also reaffirmed "the ambition that France occupies the first place in the great maritime century which is opening before us", evoking these "new challenges such as the territorialization of the sea ​​and seabed ".

"France is there," insisted Mr. Castex, who came to meet the crew of the Charles-de-Gaulle, the day after the end of the Clémenceau 21 mission which took the vessel to the Eastern Mediterranean and then to the Red Sea. and in the Arab-Persian Gulf, as part of Operation Chammal, the French component of the international anti-jihadist operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.

"She is committed to peace, nothing will be able to silence her, and if some lost power was tempted to attack its vital interests, let it know that it will have to pay the price", continued the head of government, in front of some 300 sailors gathered in the large hangar of the ship.

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Returning to the 2018 military programming law, Mr. Castex estimated that it was notably "unprecedented in terms of its ambition", with a military budget which will be on average 40 billion euros per year between 2019 and 2023, against 32 billion on average from 2007 to 2015.

"This effort was necessary and we will continue it", affirmed the Prime Minister, specifying that he would come to present before the National Assembly and the Senate, on June 22 and 23, the way in which this law is and will be implemented, "in an evolving context, (..) with reconfigured terrorist movements and new emerging technologies".

On board Charles-de-Gaulle, Jean Castex also attended the landing and catapulting qualifications on Saturday for several young naval pilots.

© 2021 AFP