The Belgian Government is giving itself time to reflect

As could be expected, the report evaluating options for replacing the F-16s delivered by the Belgian Ministry of Defense ignores the French strategic partnership proposal. Indeed, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Steven Vandeput, has never hidden his hostility to the French offer, and his marked preference for the American F35.

On the other hand, the Belgian Prime Minister, Charles Michel, and a significant part of the Belgian political class, have a much more nuanced position vis-à-vis the French offer. Remember that this offers delivery of 34 Rafale in 3 years to the Belgian Air Force, part of which could be standard M and could be embarked on the Charles de Gaulle, the securing of 5000 aeronautical industrial jobs in Belgium (which fiscally compensates for the purchase and the use of French aircraft over 20 years), the integration of Belgium into the FCAS new generation fighter program, as well as a strategic partnership for training, air defense and external operations between the two countries.

For Paris as for Dassault, the French offer is by far the best feasible offer, and it is now up to the Belgian authorities to choose between a European or American vision of defense. However, with the latest American positions, strategic dependence on the United States is less and less perceived positively, even for the very Atlanticist Germany. 

Regardless, the Belgian government has given itself until at least October, and the municipal elections, to make its decisions. 

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